SALT LAKE CITY — Two climbers are safe after being helped by search and rescue teams in a mission that took over 8 hours to complete in Little Cottonwood Canyon Saturday morning.
According to officials, the pair of experienced climbers began at around 2 p.m. on Friday to attempt "The Thumb," which is a multi-pitch route in the canyon. After finishing their climb, the hikers began their descent and quickly became disoriented due to the darkness.
With no headlamps, food, water, warm clothing and limited cell phone battery, the climbers called 911 for help.
Two mountain teams and a helicopter from the Department of Public Safety were dispatched at around 12:30 on Saturday morning using GPS location from the 911 call and where the pair thought they were.
"One team began ascending Plumbline Gulley (the standard descent route for the climb) to try and access terrain above the stranded climbers, while the second team attempted to make visual/voice contact with them from below the GPS location, which proved unsuccessful," officials said in a Facebook post about the rescue.
Once the helicopter arrived at around 3:30 a.m., a more exact location for the climbers was given to rescue teams. It was discovered the pair was more than a quarter of a mile away and several hundred vertical feet higher than was originally was believed.
The new area was near the top of Plumbline Gulley and directly above the first team. Rescuers reached the climbers at around 5 a.m. and were found to be borderline hypothermic.
"After some rewarming, the climbers and rescue team began several pitches of roped lowers and rappels through Plumbline Gulley, where they were met near the bottom by the second team for the short walk back to the command post," officials reported.
The climbers and all teams were off the mountain by 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
Officials want to remind climbers, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts that while the fall season is a great time to be outdoors, the days are shorter, nights are cols and weather can be harsh. Be prepared with proper equipment and knowledge of the route and time required to complete it before embarking on a trail or climb.