Sheriff’s Office

Posted on: June 12, 2015

Rescue of Hikers Provides Reminder to Carry the “Ten Essentials”

Flagstaff, AZ – On June 11, 2015 at approximately 8:00 pm the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to a report of six lost hikers on the San Francisco Peaks. The hikers were part of a group of ten hikers from a Boy Scout Troop from Tucson, AZ. The group intended to hike up the Weatherford Trail from Schultz Tank and then descend the Humphreys Trail to cars that they had parked at the Snowbowl. Four members of the group completed the hike as planned but six members, including two adults and four juveniles, decided to turn around when they reached a snowfield on the north side of Agassiz Peak. That group intended to contour around Agassiz Peak and hike cross country to the Snowbowl and then down to the parking lot; however, they became disoriented to their location.

At approximately 8:30 pm the lost hikers were able to call 911 and their location was determined from the phone call. The group had come across the Kachina Trail about halfway between the trailhead at the Snowbowl and the intersection with the Weatherford Trail. The group did not have any lights and had run out of food. They were not dressed for the weather they encountered and did not have a map or other navigation equipment other than their smart phones. The group stayed in place while Search and Rescue units hiked into their location and provided them with jackets, food, and head lamps. Search and Rescue then escorted them to the trailhead at Snowbowl where the rest of the party was waiting.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue would like to remind hikers to be prepared when hiking in Northern Arizona. Weather can change rapidly in the mountains and snow may still be on some trails at higher elevations. Hikers should carry the “Ten Essentials” even on short day hikes in case of an emergency. The “Ten Essentials” include Water, Food, Extra Warm Clothing, Map/Compass/GPS, Headlamp/Flashlight, First Aid Kit, Shelter Material, Fire Starting Kit or Backpacking Stove, Pocket Knife/Multi-tool, and Whistle/Signal Mirror. Cell phones are good tools to have along but should not be relied upon in the wilderness where cell signals may not be available. Hikers should always leave a detailed trip plan with trusted friends or family. Care should always be exercised when building a fire and it should be monitored and then put completely out when no longer needed.