SALT LAKE CITY — Three young men stranded atop Mount Timpanogos late Monday night were in more danger than they may have known.
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office reported that the men began a hike in the morning but called for help at 6:45 p.m. As search-and-rescue crew members began to make their way toward the stranded hikers, the men began to make their way down the west face of Mount Timpanogos.
But search-and-rescue (SAR) officials, who had been communicating with the men and had tracked them using GPS coordinates, knew that the hikers were near cliffs that put them “at grave risk for their safety,” according to a statement.
The freezing temperatures were also putting the trio at risk. Via cellphone, SAR told the men to stop descending and stay put.
Once rescuers located the men, a Division of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter crew dropped a care package to them that contained hand warmers, snacks and a two-way radio.
And none too soon, as their phone batteries had decreased to 11% power.
The DPS helicopter crew rescued them one at a time with the help of a hoist. The men were flown to a command post where Pleasant Grove Fire Department paramedics evaluated them. All of the men experienced hypothermia “to some degree” as well as frostbite according to the statement; one man was taken to a hospital.
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office reminds hikers to be well-prepared when taking part in outdoor activities during winter. That includes carrying equipment that will allow for a safe overnight stay on the mountain in subfreezing temperatures, should that become necessary.
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