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Beginners Rescued From Sandthrax

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by Downward Bound, Jun 10, 2022.

  1. Downward Bound

    Downward Bound

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    Location:
    Flagstaff, AZ
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    By: Jeff Tavss
    Posted at 10:53 AM, Jun 10, 2022
    and last updated 11:46 AM, Jun 10, 2022
    GARFIELD CO. UTAH — The Garfield County Sheriff's Office says 15 "young men" and 2 leaders were successfully rescued from a treacherous slot canyon Friday.

    Sheriff Danny Perkins tweeted about the rescue which taking place in Sandthrax Canyon east of Capitol Reef National Park.

    A Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter was dispatched to the area to assist in the rescue.

    Perkins told FOX 13 News that as of 10:30 a.m., six of the hiking group members have been rescued, with the worst injury being a sprained ankle. At 11:45 a.m., Perkins tweeted that the operation was completed.

    "Everyone has been rescued and taken to safety everyone is OK," Perkins wrote. "I can’t thank our DPS helicopter crew enough along with Wayne County deputies Garfield County Deputy‘s and Search And Rescue."

    In discussing the dangers of Sandthrax Canyon, Perkins said four women had to be rescued from the same location last weekend.

    Roadtripryan.com, a canyoneering website, described the canyon and its hazards in no uncertain terms.

    "SANDTHRAX CANYON IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR MOST CANYONEERS! It requires climbing competency and ability that most canyoneers do not poses (sic). There have been several accidents in the canyon already, fortunately, none fatal yet. IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT YOUR ABILITY TO DESCEND THE CANYON, YOU ARE NOT READY TO DO IT!"
  3. vanyoneer

    vanyoneer

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    Navigation error?
    Difficulty under-estimation?
    Skill over-estimation?
    Buffalo herd over-the-cliff mentality? (follow into danger without question)
    Blithe ignorance?
  4. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Please note - this may not even BE in Sandthrax. Early reports are notoriously unreliable.
    Mountaineer likes this.
  5. Nate Stevens

    Nate Stevens The Next Gen

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    It's hard to believe that a couple young men's leaders would take kids down a canyon like sandthrax.
  6. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    A post from the KSL comment board:

    "My son was actually in this group. From limited info I've received it seems like this was not the intended canyon they were supposed to go, thought it was a different canyon, and only realized it wasn't the one they intended to go to after it was too late."
  7. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Not that hard to believe. I was a youth leader for many years. When it comes to the outdoors, there area plenty of incompetent leaders.
  8. Flapbag

    Flapbag

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    This is what I suspected when I saw the news. It is just so close to so many entry level canyons I am not surprised this happened to this type of group. Glad everyone is ok.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  9. Taylor

    Taylor

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    Intended to descend Lep, got rescued from Sandthrax. Collectively, humans are getting worse at navigation, not better. Despite all the resources available.
    Flapbag and Ram like this.
  10. Ram

    Ram

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    Lots more people out there navigating, without depth of experience. And the technology, while amazing and handy, does little to hone ANY instinct or navigation skill. You don't get good at doing math in your head, if you are always using a calculator.
    John Diener, Taylor and Kevin like this.
  11. scottensign

    scottensign

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    video from rescue:
    Ram and Flapbag like this.
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Oh my... nice to see that at least most of them had helmets.

    I am shocked that they did not have a satellite communicator, so they spent the night in the canyon.

    I am a little bit surprised they did short hauls out of the canyon. Yes, the helicopter is fast, but it is also the most dangerous way of doing things. They were not in all that deep. (Then again, I am also opposed to second guessing the decisions made by the professionals on the scene.)

    Tom
    Kuenn and scottensign like this.
  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    "Collectively" humans are much much better at navigation. Individually, individuals are worse.

    Tom
  14. Ram

    Ram

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    I must credit them with stopping where they did. It really is the first hard-ish move in the canyon, gaining a short rib on climbers left. It is also a spot where kids can avoid it in a real tight squeeze, thus "getting in deeper" both physically and figuratively. It is a long way after that spot before one is not stemming, although not particularly exposed for awhile either. The spot can be seen clearly at the 1:15 minute point in the video (the camera is looking up canyon then) and at 1:22 coming in from the side. I agree with Tom. It is not very deep there. Maybe 60 feet deep plus the roll back? Unlike the crux which can be belayed from the east rim. That is nearly 300 feet deep there (loose rock hazard).
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2022
    Jenny and hank moon like this.
  15. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    X2. Lotta shade thrown at these guys but...no harm, no foul. The spot where they stopped looks like the "Nose Climb" described here

    Full length from the helo:

    Ram likes this.
  16. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    It's always easy to Monday morning quarterback, but the more of these accident reports I read the more I think "But for the grace of God, there go I."

    I was with a group that dropped into the wrong canyon this year due to navigational ineptitude. It was an X canyon. Luckily, we were aiming for a different X canyon and the group was both capable of doing the X canyon we dropped into and had all the gear needed to complete it. This was a VERY experienced group, three of whom had previously done the canyon we were aiming for and none of whom had done the canyon we ended up in. And we were still 1/4 of the way down the canyon before we realized we were in the wrong one.

    The lesson I learned was two-fold:

    # 1 Don't trust anyone else to get you into the right canyon, even if they've done it before. You should personally know which canyon you're going to.
    # 2 Always double check the map or GPS at the top before dropping in.

    If we had done either of these, we would have done the correct canyon.

    At any rate, kudos to the youth leaders who limited their mistakes to just 1. Most outdoor disasters involve mistake after mistake after mistake. Then @ratagonia ends up writing a book about your adventure.
  17. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    Group dynamics a factor?
  18. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Tom fox.

    New "not again" avatar...

    Fox got you on speed dial, Tom? Ha ha.

    Really glad for a good outcome.
    Sandstone Addiction, Jenny and Ram like this.
  19. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Not really. Nobody said a thing or as far as I can tell even considered saying a thing. More just everyone went on autopilot on the approach. Not really any one person's fault, just a lot of people asleep at the wheel and too trusting of their usually competent companions.
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