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Stranded Hikers Rescued From Buck Mesa

Canyonlands National Park

National Park News

Park maintenance worker Jack Foy was working in Taylor Canyon late on the morning of April 30th when he heard cries for help coming from the top of Buck Mesa, which lies south of the canyon. Foy determined that someone was rim-rocked approximately 100 feet below the top of the mesa and about 600 feet above the canyon floor. He could also see another person on top of the mesa. Foy radioed this information to Island in the Sky ranger Joe Carlson. River rangers Steve Young and Kyler Carpenter and 30 guides employed by park concessioners happened to be on the Green River near Taylor Canyon, having just begun the annual interpretive river trip. Young and Carpenter put ashore near the Labyrinth campsite on the White Rim Road and were met by ranger Cherie Barth, who transported them to Taylor Canyon. Coincidentally, a helicopter being used by a film crew to produce a PBS documentary about the history of the NPS happened to be at the Moab airport. The helicopter flew Young, Carpenter, Arches National Park rangers Jacob Tung and Will See and two river guides who had technical rock climbing experience to the top of the mesa. Carpenter then rappelled down the cliff to the victim. A technical raising was performed and all personnel were flown off the mesa top by 6 p.m. Rangers learned that the two visitors had begun a day hike of the Syncline Loop trail at Upheaval Dome on Saturday, April 29th. Hiking in a clockwise direction, they lost the trail in the area called the "Steps" and wandered in a northerly direction, eventually ending up on the top of Buck Mesa. They told rangers that they realized they were lost, but were unable to retrace their steps back to the Syncline Loop trail.  They spent Saturday and Sunday nights on top of Buck Mesa. On Monday, they ran out of water and said that they thought they were going to die. They threw their backpacks and digital cameras off Buck Mesa and decided to try and climb down into Taylor Canyon. With air temperatures in the 90's and their lack of water, it was unlikely they would have survived another day. The two river guides who participated in this rescue were Jason Quinn of Holiday River Expeditions and Dustin Fallentine of Moki Mac River Expeditions. John Shaffer with the Moab BLM Fire Operations Center was the helicopter manager. Paul Cowan was the IC.


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