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Rope Rescue at Box Canyon – August 27, 2005
 

Box Canyon Rope Rescue


Thanks to Sgt. Terry Hudgens for the photos
and Jim Martin for the narrative.



Rope Rescue at Box Canyon – August 27, 2005


As the first two pictures suggest, Box Canyon is a very steep walled canyon carved by Christopher Creek. It is a popular recreation area where people play in the creek, sliding on rocks and waterfalls and swimming in the pools seen in picture #2. Unfortunately some visitors fall and injure themselves and are unable to climb the rocks and boulders that line the creek. These injuries usually occur on the creek center in picture #2, three to four times per year, Tonto Rim SAR is called to rescue subjects from this area. While the cool water and sunshine make this a haven for recreation, the orientation of the canyon blocks all breezes and there is no shade. This makes it a grueling place to perform rescues.


Over 400 feet of rescue rope is required to reach the point on the creek from the anchor point. The first 40 feet from the creek is a high angle (vertical) lift, which requires a second safety (belay) rope and attendant. The majority of the route is low (15-40 degree) angle of rocky, narrow trail with several three to five foot “steps” where the litter has to be carried by attendants, (picture #3) while being hauled by the rope system as seen in picture #4. The last 60 foot of the ascent is a steep angle (40 –60 degree) narrow slot with two to six foot rock steps. This portion of the route also requires a second belay rope and its attendant.

This mission required this procedure to be repeated twice, as two 13 year old males both fell and sustained ankle sprains along with other bruises and one of the subjects also suffered a fractured elbow.

 

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West (open) end of Box Canyon


East (closed) end of Box Canyon

Tonto Rim personnel and SO deputies carry the litter

Six-to-one mechanical advantage rope haul system

Just below the ‘Slot'

In the ‘Slot’




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