Crews rescue injured hiker who spent night in Little Cottonwood Canyon after fall

Posted at 3:35 PM, Aug 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-07 23:25:19-04

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah -- Hikers and climbers in Little Cottonwood Canyon Sunday encountered an injured man who told them he had hurt himself in a series of falls and had spent the night weak, dehydrated and unable to leave the area on his own.

Lt. John Barker with the Unified Police Department said the 43-year-old male became stranded in the canyon overnight after suffering injuries from a 30-foot fall.

"It could be pretty scary," he said. "It could get cold, and if you're by yourself you wonder if you're going to survive."

The man was hiking in the Gate Buttress area at the time.

"I think he's banged up pretty bad, and then I think he was dehydrated and just flat wore out," he said.

He said the victim decided to wait until daylight to attempt to hike out. However, on Sunday morning Lt. Barker said the man fell again.

The hikers and climbers who encountered the man found him sometime Sunday morning. They offered assistance and called for help.

"It's a very popular climbing area, so there are several other citizens that have came across him this morning and are with him giving him aid," said Lt. Todd Griffiths of the Unified Police Department. "With their help, they've been able to vector search and rescue people to him."

Search and rescue personnel initially got the call around 2:30 p.m., and hiked up to the man on the trail. While at first it appeared they'd attempt to hike down, it proved too strenuous.

"Rough terrain, and then storms kept coming in and out," Lt. Barker said.

Ultimately crews used a Life Flight helicopter to hoist him out of the area. See the tweet below for footage of the rescue.

Lt. Barker said the man suffered non life threatening injuries, aside from scrapes and bruises and possible fractures. He was taken to the hospital Sunday evening.

Police say this serves as an important reminder for hikers to bring food, water, light and other supplies with them, as a short trip can turn into an overnight ordeal. Hikers should also not hike alone, and tell someone where they are going and when they expect to return.