Hiker stuck in canyon

October 30, 1999
Whitewater Canyon
UTM 11S 0533492, 3757598 NAD27 CONUS

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At about 4:00pm, two women set out for a hike in the Whitewater Canyon area. One hiker decided to come down before the other. At dark, she contacted authorities to report that her friend was overdue.

RMRU was paged at about 8:30pm and met Sheriff's deputies at the scene. The deputies explained that they were able to get close enough the talk to her and find out what her situation was. She had become disoriented on her hike out and had followed the wrong canyon down. The canyon became steeper as she approached the bottom. She slid down several sections until she came to a 60-foot drop-off. When she tried to walk back up the canyon, she discovered that she could not climb up the areas that she slid down. Unable to move up or down the canyon, she decided to stay until help arrived.

Since we were unable to place protection in the low quality climbing surface that formed the 60-foot drop-off, our only option was to find a way down from the top. This proved to be difficult and time consuming in the dark. Eventually, we were able to find the top of the canyon and follow it down. When we reached her, she was in good condition but cold. The only thing she needed to end her ordeal was the use of a headlamp and some ropes to assist her back up the canyon. Once out of the canyon, we hiked her back to the road where she was reunited with her friends.