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Hiker stuck for 12 hours rescued from slot canyon

By Natalie Crofts | Posted - Apr 3rd, 2014 @ 10:34pm



WAYNE COUNTY — A hiker was rescued after being wedged in a slot in Alcatraz Canyon for nearly 12 hours, according to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

Matt Hickenlooper, 32, was canyoneering with Zachary Layton, 30, when he became stuck at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in Alcatraz Canyon, which is located in Canyonlands National Park, investigators said. Hickenlooper and Layton are both from Taylorsville.

"They had finished the 200-foot rappel into the canyon and were stemming their way through the remaining slots in the canyon when Hickenlooper slipped and became wedged in a slot," a statement from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office reads. "Layton attempted to work Hickenlooper free from the slot, but was unsuccessful. At this point, Layton and Hickenlooper decided that Layton needed to work his way out of the canyon and get some help."


"They had finished the 200-foot rappel into the canyon and were stemming their way through the remaining slots in the canyon when Hickenlooper slipped and became wedged in a slot."

Layton left Hickenlopper with water, a hooded sweatshirt and an emergency blanket and returned to the trailhead where his car was parked, investigators said. He found a spot where he could receive cellphone reception and called the sheriff's office with his location and details about the situation at approximately 5:46 p.m., deputies said.

Responding personnel included deputies from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, the Wayne County Search & Rescue team and Wayne County EMTs. They arrived at the trailhead at about 10:30 p.m., according to the sheriff's office.

"The temperature was 30 degrees and falling as the high-angle rescue team was flown by a (Department of Public Safety) helicopter into the canyon where they could start setting up their equipment to make the rappel down to Hickenlooper," the statement reads.

Hickenlooper was successfully extracted from the canyon by the Wayne County high-angle rescue team at 1:17 a.m., investigators said.

He was initially appeared to be uninjured, but investigators said he was taken to Castleview Hospital in Price after he began complaining of stomach pains upon reaching the trailhead. His current condition is unknown, according to Wayne County public information officer Kassidee Brown.

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