Weber County search and rescue urges hikers to prepare for emergencies


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OGDEN — Search and rescue crews worry that less-experienced hikers are getting into difficult areas due to a popular treasure hunt.

Sgt. Kyley Slater with the Weber County Sheriff's Office knows Utahns love to walk up the mountain trails but worries the inexperienced hikers are unaware of how quickly things can change.

Slater cited one rescue that happened on Monday on Ben Lomond Peak with a man who got caught in the snow.

"The weather, it changed," Slater said. "He was hiking, all day by himself and ended up getting disoriented. It was snowing up on top of the peak, and the winds were too high to get a helicopter up there initially."

Search and rescue crews on Ben Lomond saved a man who found himself lost on the mountain.
Search and rescue crews on Ben Lomond saved a man who found himself lost on the mountain. (Photo: Weber County Sheriff’s Office)

Slater said crews started the rescue at approximately 9 p.m. but didn't get him down safely until 4:30 a.m. the next day.

In another rescue Saturday, Weber County deputies reported that a treasure hunt drew two people a couple of miles up the Beus Canyon trail, which can be very technical with a high elevation gain.

"They were walking downhill. Kind of a steep embankment and ended up breaking their ankle," Slater said.

Search and rescue crews carry a treasure hunter who needed to be carried out of the Beus Canyon trail after hurting their ankle.
Search and rescue crews carry a treasure hunter who needed to be carried out of the Beus Canyon trail after hurting their ankle. (Photo: Weber County Sheriff’s Office)

The office said it had seven rescues in June. Officials are worried that more people are unprepared, like not having a fully charged cell phone, which can be an extremely useful tool.

"We have the ability to send a location as long as they're within cell phone range," Slater said.

He said it's thanks to a program called CalTopo.

Slater explained that deputies can not only receive a caller's location but also track the route they took to get there. They can then use it to help navigate the lost hiker back out, but their battery has to be charged for it to work.

"We've had three or four this year where they're just going up for a quick day hike, and all they're using is their cell phone light to get out," Slater said.

Sgt. Kyley Slater with the Weber County Sheriff's Office shows how CalTopo works with locating hikers through their phones.
Sgt. Kyley Slater with the Weber County Sheriff's Office shows how CalTopo works with locating hikers through their phones. (Photo: Mike Anderson, KSL-TV)

As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, Slater said hikers should bring things like an emergency blanket, a jacket, water, food and even extra power for their phones, just in case something goes wrong.

And most importantly, don't hike alone.

"A microburst or the weather can change while you're up on the trail if you're 3 to 5 miles away from the trailhead, and that happens, and you get cold, your body temperature drops, and it just makes it hard, that much harder for you to get out," he said.

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Mike Anderson
Mike Anderson often doubles as his own photographer, shooting and editing most of his stories. He came to KSL in April 2011 after working for several years at various broadcast news outlets.

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