ABC15 reports three hikers had to hunker down for several days after getting cliffed out on Bear Mountain in Sedona. The group had been hiking for about eight hours and had rappelled down a cliff before becoming stuck. With their phone batteries dying, scarce supplies at hand, and extreme weather rolling in, they called in for an evacuation:
“As we were getting to the second rappel point. The blizzard came in. We couldn’t rappel down the second 150-foot drop. We decided to call the [Yavapai County] Sheriff’s Office and see if they could get someone over to us, or a drone up, or something. Then we found a little alcove to shelter in [to] wait it out.” –Scott Brand
Weather conditions worsened stalling multiple aerial rescue efforts. Search-and-rescue crews from multiple counties and departments hiked for two days through 18 inches of snow on rough terrain to try to reach the hikers but they also got stuck.
“They were about half a mile away from us. The problem was the conditions were so bad they couldn’t see the bottom of the drop. and some of their guys ended up getting stuck on that cliff face. So they had to send up another team to rescue the rescue team.”
They even tried to fly supplies up to the group using a drone, but a propeller broke. The situation became increasingly dire by Tuesday with the group starting to experience frostbite due to their wet socks and freezing temperatures. All three of their phones also died on Tuesday. Just as the situation was reaching a point of desperation they heard heli rotor off in the distance. They were successfully airlifted by National Guard pilots. Sherriff David Rhodes wants to remind the public that Arizona trails can bite you in the ass if you’re unprepared. Be careful out there folks:
“Considering the severe weather, these hikers are extremely lucky to be alive. This is an important reminder to pay attention to the weather conditions before embarking on our trails. Winter or summer, Arizona trails can be dangerous if you aren’t prepared.” –Sheriff David Rhodes