Rescue squad finds lost hikers

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Dschur
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Rescue squad finds lost hikers

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Rescue squad finds lost hikers
By Alexis Bechman

April 3, 2009

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The Hells Gate Trail lived up to its name this weekend for a pair of hikers who got so lost, they stumbled around the Tonto National Forest for three days until searchers finally located them in a canyon Monday afternoon.

Two men in their 20s from the Valley planned to hike the strenuous 11-mile Hells Gate Trail, which starts a half mile south of Little Green Valley, and return by Sunday afternoon, said Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Commander Bill Pitterle.

Their plans for a nice romp through the forest quickly fell off track when they lost the trail early on in the hike, shortly after leaving their vehicle at the trailhead Friday night.

“They got off the trail fairly quickly, but they tried to go to Hells Gate anyway,” Pitterle said. “They went into a canyon their map said would take them there, and like most canyons in this area, it turned into a cliff, so they had to backtrack.”

The pair spent the rest of the weekend and part of Monday traversing the forest, searching for the ridge. By Sunday, when they had not returned as planned, family members contacted the sheriff’s office.

Tonto Rim Search and Rescue was called out Monday morning and rescuers responded with four quads, which began searching several old jeep roads that the trail follows. Searchers were unable to find any of the men’s tracks so a hiking team was brought in that began searching some of the areas canyons.

“We have had a number of searches in that area before with people missing a turn on the trail,” Pitterle said.

By afternoon, the men had hiked up high enough to get a cell signal and were able to call one of their fathers and give him their GPS coordinates.

“If they had not called, we would have had to call in a helicopter because they were three-quarters of a mile from the nearest trail,” he said.

The men were escorted the rest of the way down the trail. Neither was injured, but both reported being tired, Pitterle said.
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Dawn
--On the loose to climb a mountain, on the loose where I am free. On the loose to live my life the way I think my life should be...For we only have a moment and a whole world yet to see...I'll be looking for tomorrow on the loose. ---unknown--
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Dschur
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Re: Rescue squad finds lost hikers

Post by Dschur »

It happened again this last weekend
Hell’s Gate hikers run out of water, rescue needed
By Alexis Bechman

August 4, 2009

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For the eighth time this year, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue volunteers rescued hikers on the Hell’s Gate Trail after they ran out of water.

This time on Sunday, a 19- and 20-year-old man headed down the steep, rugged 16-mile round-trip trail with plenty of water. They managed to make it down the trail to the creek, turnaround and hike out five-and-a-half miles before making a wrong turn, said TRSAR Commander Bill Pitterle.

Pitterle explained around two-and-a-half miles from the trailhead is an old corral. The pair stopped at the corral for a water break and then started heading west on an old Jeep trail.

Instead of hiking north up the trail, the disoriented pair made a loop back to the corrals.

“Being low on water and not sure where they made a mistake, they called for help and stayed put,” Pitterle said. “They made the right choice.”

Around noon, two groups of rescuers headed down a Jeep trail and found the men uninjured.

They gave the men water and drove them out of the canyon.

On July 14, three men in their early 20s were rescued after running out of water. On June 30, a similar incident occurred with four adults who became dehydrated and could not hike out on their own.
Dawn
--On the loose to climb a mountain, on the loose where I am free. On the loose to live my life the way I think my life should be...For we only have a moment and a whole world yet to see...I'll be looking for tomorrow on the loose. ---unknown--
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joebartels
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Re: Rescue squad finds lost hikers

Post by joebartels »

People simply under estimate this route, especially in the heat. My sister's group had to be "rescued" when they got split up in the early 90's. The numbers seem to be on the rise since the closing of Tonto Narrows.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Rescue squad finds lost hikers

Post by azbackpackr »

It makes no sense when they tell people to carry a gallon a day but to drink a quart an hour. If it's an 8 mile hike and they aren't moving very fast up that hill then they will run out of water before the hike is over if they only carry a gallon.
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A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
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