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Box Death Hollow SAR

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by hank moon, May 27, 2019.

  1. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    From Garfield County Sheriff's Office Facebook page

    ANOTHER LIFESAVING RESCUE FOR GARFIELD COUNTY!
    On Sunday, May 26, Garfield County Search and Rescue were called out to a search in the Escalante area. This area is known as the Box Death Hollow Slot Canyon.

    Last night at approximately 8PM, Garfield County Dispatch received information from an alerting company that they had received a beacon alert from an individual who was stranded and hypothermic in Box Death Hollow. Garfield Dispatch immediately called out Search and Rescue in Escalante Utah along with the Department of Public Safety Helicopter and crew to assist in the rescue.

    When the call came out to Search and Rescue, only three of the members were available, Garfield County Commissioner Jerry Taylor, Rick Green, and Justin Porter. Commissioner Taylor and Rick Green went to the Airport and waited for the DPS Helicopter and their crew.

    When the helicopter came, they picked up Commissioner Taylor and Rick Green and took them to a location near the coordinates from the beacon alert and let them out. By this time, daylight was gone. Commissioner Taylor and Rick Green attempted to climb into the slot canyon but the terrain was steep and extremely dangerous. It was decided that they should go back up and seek the help from the helicopter by using the hoist from the aircraft. After the decision was made to hoist these individuals out of the slot canyon, the DPS helicopter had to fly to Moab and pick up another crew member to help assist with the hoist.

    The four women who were in the slot canyon had stated that they thought that Box Death Hollow Canyon would only have ankle to knee deep water that they would be walking through, but after hiking for some time, they realized that they would have to be in deeper water, even swimming in areas. The weather had been cold and wet and hypothermia was setting in on these individuals. The women were able to get on a ledge. Luckily one of the women had decided to get a beacon alert before going on this hike or they possibly might not have been located.

    The Department of Public Safety helicopter and crew were able to save these women’s lives lifting each individual out of the slot canyon. They were cold, tired and frightened but there were no injuries. They were warmed up with blankets and examined by the Garfield County Ambulance crew. No one was taken to the hospital. Garfield County Commissioner, Jerry Taylor, gave them a ride to their vehicle.

    These women all came from the Salt Lake area and their ages ranged from 40 to 53. The women stated that they had hiked in other areas by Escalante at other times so they were somewhat experienced hikers.
    Garfield County has some of the best hiking adventures around but they can be extremely dangerous. The weather has been rainy, snowy, and cold. When you hike a slot canyon you might never know how much water can rise in the narrow canyon.

    Garfield County Sheriff, James D Perkins Jr cannot express enough how grateful he is to be able to call the Department of Public Safety helicopter and crew and they immediately come to the aide of Garfield County. The DPS helicopter was able to use their hoist and pull these ladies to safety. He also is extremely grateful to the Search and Rescue members, Commissioner Jerry Taylor, Rick Green, and Justin Porter, for the sacrifice of their time they dedicate to Search and Rescue.

    Garfield County Search and Rescue consists of volunteers who are willing to train and be available whether it is day or night to help those in need. This search started at 8PM on May 26 and was not complete until 5AM on May 27th. Garfield County is lucky to have such great volunteers and a great partnership with the Department of Public Safety helicopter and crew.


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  2. Tirrus

    Tirrus Rope rider.

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    Seems there is a fairly dramatic increase in canyon rescues happening this year. I'm glad these gals made it out safe.
  3. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Thanks to @Rick Green for this one. Nice work. Turns out the victim was a teammate of my wife's! I'll ask for a report.
    Jenny, EvergreenDean, Ram and 4 others like this.
  4. wisconnyjohnny

    wisconnyjohnny

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    Good job SAR.
    One of the ladies is giving spurts of info on the Facebook. As well as saying they don’t need to be lectured because they had the gear needed.

    Well I hope someone is able to reach out to them and tutor some better trip planning. Beta resources and TR’s. Never underestimate a canyon of any sort nor try to beat “weather”

    A Canyon Is not something to do if it’s a race!
  5. EvergreenDean

    EvergreenDean OK with what happens

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    This sounds more like the Box hike in Pine Creek, which is in Box Death Hollow wilderness, than the actual Death Hollow (Mamie Creek) drainage. Do we know for sure where this happened?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  6. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    The Garfield Sherriff's post refers to Box Death Hollow Slot Canyon, Box Death Hollow and Box Death Hollow Canyon - so not 100% sure of the location. Anyone got definitive info?

    p.s. changed thread title to "Box Death Hollow"
  7. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Where did they get the photos for the Facebook posting? Except for the second one, those photos are from Death Hollow. The second one looks more like Little Death Hollow, which is a different canyon.

    Edit: it looks like they pulled them off the internet from hiking sites, so I guess the photos won't tell us much.

    The FB post from one of the women does mention the Boulder Mail Trail, so they must have been in Death Hollow proper.
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
  8. gajslk

    gajslk

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    There's no swimming below the mail trail ...
  9. wisconnyjohnny

    wisconnyjohnny

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    They totally were in Box death hollow. They mention the gals doing boulder mail trail 2 weeks before. I dunno about swimming but I thought for sure there was no raps nor downclimbs in Box death hollow. I’ve seen people
    Do it with camelbacks is all!
  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I do not know what "Box Death Hollow" is as a geographic FEATURE, I know it only as a management area. Box Death Hollow Wilderness Area.

    Do you mean Death Hollow (Mamie Creek), which we usually call Death Hollow?

    Or do you mean The Box of Pine Creek?

    Or other features within the Box Death Hollow Wilderness Area?

    Tom
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  11. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Usually, or ever?
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  12. wisconnyjohnny

    wisconnyjohnny

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    Yes the box. Pine creek! They parked on hells backbone. So that eliminates death hollow off the burr trail. So I’ve read beta on pine creeks box for several years and never saw anything about downclimbs. I’m so confused.

    Ok I figured it out. Yes death hollow not the box of pine creek. Now I know.
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
  13. wisconnyjohnny

    wisconnyjohnny

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  14. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Interesting to follow the folks involved on the FB post. Sounds like a ranger told them that the water would only be ankle to thigh deep but may have assumed they were going in from the BMT. Even prepared with wetsuits, they seemed to get cold from prolonged cold water exposure.

    Be interesting to hear what their take aways were for lessons learned. The beacon alert was a great option for them. But, what would have prepared them for the conditions they encountered? Was the route in normal conditions extensively watery? Should they have known that, regardless of what a ranger told them? I dunno.

    We've all underestimated conditions for sure. And mostly gotten pretty lucky. Was turning around and going back instead of continuing an option? Warmer/thicker wetsuits or even drysuits?

    Really glad things turned out for the best.

    What would have prevented this rescue?
  15. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Yes, I know, but on FB she mentioned that the person in the visitor center may have thought that they were coming in the BMT.
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  16. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    If you come in from the top, Pine Creek and Death Hollow are both accessed from the Hell's Backbone road.

    The one accessed from the Burr Trail is a different Death Hollow, usually known as Little Death Hollow among hikers and canyoneers.
  17. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Sometimes there is a huge swimming hole right in the middle of the lower narrows, about half way between the BMT and the Escalante River. I has been there for several of our early trips to Death Hollow, but by the early 1990's, it was filled in with sand.

    Unfortunately I don't know of conditions in recent years because I'm sensitive to poison ivy and have been avoiding the place. I haven't been all the way through Death Hollow since 1997.
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  18. gajslk

    gajslk

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    There's an optional swim about halfway to the river from the BMT that can be bypassed on the left with minimal scrambling skills. Getting wet is the only penalty for slipping as you're barely above water level. It's in the only section that approximates a narrows. At least the two times I've done it, I found it that way. I can't remember anywhere else in the lower canyon that might get scooped out by floods, but my memory is like a steel trap - rusty and illegal in 37 states. :)
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  19. gajslk

    gajslk

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    Now there's the beta they should have used. Better too pessimistic than too optimistic.
  20. EvergreenDean

    EvergreenDean OK with what happens

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    It all sounds like the Box of Pine Creek. That rages with seasonal runoff, which is going hard right now. Death Hollow flashes but it isn’t really affected as much by seasonal runoff since its spring fed. I’m betting on the lower Box.


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