A BASE jumper who intended to climb to the ridge separating Little Cottonwood Canyon from Bells Canyon and launch into Bells Canyon required an airlift from a helicopter after getting stranded for 6.5 hours on the way up.

KSL reports a rescue team of four people responded to the stranded climber and began ascending the gulley known as Black Peral. Once the team arrived to the area they realized they were in a dangerous rockfall zone and proceeding on foot was deemed too hazardous.

The Department of Public Safety dispatched helicopter and the climber and all team members were airlifted off the mountain safely. No injuries were reported.

The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue wants to use the incident as a reminder for climbers to ask themselves, what is your backup plan if the intended way down doesn’t work? What if you run out of daylight? Remember folks, always have a backup plan and the proper equipment in case of an emergency.

Find Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue incident report below:

Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue incident report below:

Callout date: 6/8/23 4:17pm
Duration 6.5 hrs
Stage at Gate Buttress LCC, cliffed out BASE jumper, Perla’s Ridge/Black Pearl
The team was called out for a cliffed out hiker across from the Gate Buttress. The patient intended to climb to the ridge separating Little Cottonwood Canyon from Bells Canyon, and BASE jump into Bells Canyon. He was unable to safely climb to the ridge, descended, and ultimately felt unsafe to move any further. The patient started at 5am, had no extra clothes, and no headlamp.
A team of 4 rescuers ascended the gulley known as Black Pearl on the Wasatch Backcountry Ski map. It appears that this is the site of a large natural rockfall event in 2021, witnessed by 3 team members climbing in the Green A Gulley at that time. There was loose rock and lots of boulders that easily shifted when weighted. Once the team reached the start of Perla’s Ridge, two members staged there to remain out of rockfall hazard while the other two attempted to reach the patient. The rockfall hazard was significant enough that the decision was made for the Dept of Public Safety helicopter to hoist the patient and all rescuers off the mountain to avoid prolonged exposure to rockfall during a descent back down the gulley.
This kind of terrain is not trivial, and this area is rarely climbed compared to the north side of the canyon. Other BASE jumpers recently climbed this route and jumped into Bells Canyon. The patient talked with them to get information on the route. A unique situation, but no matter your intended method of ascent and descent, what if you’re not able to reach your objective? What is your backup plan to get back to a trailhead if you can’t go the way you intended? What if you run out of daylight?