Hiking Trails

After rescuing 2 stranded hikers, Weber Co. SAR shares safety tips

WEBER COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – On Monday afternoon, the Weber County Search and Rescue Service responded to a call for two hikers stranded on steep terrain on the Ben Lomond trails. Today one of the lifeguards has some safety tips for fellow hikers getting ready to enjoy the great weather and even better trails.

Hot weather means more people on the hiking trails. Unfortunately, it also means more people are getting lost.

“If you end up calling for help, you’re out in the wild,” Lt. Mark Horton said. “The answer will not last 10 or 15 minutes.” Horton heads Weber County Search and Rescue, a program under the Weber County Sheriff’s Office. He wants hikers to be prepared in case they need to call for help, as was the case with two hikers on Monday afternoon.

The two male hikers found themselves stranded on Ben Lomond. According to the Weber County Search and Rescue Service, “their adventures took them to the back of the mountain through steep terrain. They realized they couldn’t make it up the mountain and called for help.

Horton leads the team that rescued the two men. He tells ABC4 it could happen to anyone, and now that more and more people are heading out to explore the trails in Utah, there are a few things to keep in mind to stay safe.

“Be prepared,” says Horton. “Take some extra water. Take extra food. Yes, it’s hot, but always take a jacket.

Horton says that’s not all hikers should take with them. “You don’t need a lot of extra gear to have enough to get you through the night even if you don’t intend to. Maybe you’re talking about one or two more pounds of equipment. He explains that some of this extra equipment would need to be an emergency blanket and something to start a fire.

Before taking the trail, Horton says it’s also good for hikers to plan out exactly where they’re going and share that map with someone who can check them out.

He also advises hikers to take a phone. It’s not just about calling in an emergency, but also using the GPS functions to tell rescuers where hikers are, if they need to be rescued.

“If we know where you are, that takes half of us,” he explains. “All we have to do is the rescue part, so we don’t have to do a lot of research.”

The two hikers who got stranded on Monday knew where they were when they called for help. This allowed Horton’s team to save the two men in about an hour and a half.

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Horton tells ABC4 that many search and rescue teams have seen an increase in rescue missions over the past year due to the pandemic. He says people can’t travel and instead explore the trails in Utah. He encourages them to get out and continue exploring the state, but to do so safely.

NOTE: Photo is from Monday’s rescue mission. Courtesy: Weber County Search and Rescue.