The squad was called out Saturday, June 19th
at 4:26 pm. Resource requested was our Technical Rope Team.
Subject was a
young man who fell while rappelling. Subject fell approx. 30 ft.
breaking both ankles and sustaining several bruises. He was
rappelling down canyon when he fell. Not sure exactly where, or
how he fell. Other hikers in the canyon helped transport
him to the bottom of the Tramway Trail where there was sort of a
beach thinking helicopter might be able to land. Helicopter
tried but could not land. The canyon is very deep and narrow at
The rescue was on the Tramway Trail in West
Clear Creek Canyon. This trail would be rated difficult to say
the least. Ropes were used twice to assist getting subject to
the top of the canyon.
There were multiple agencies and a good
turnout from the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Squad.
This was received on Monday
On Saturday, June 19, various individuals and search and rescue
teams responded to an accident in West Clear Creek Canyon where
Buck Shumway, while rappelling down a cliff, lost control of his
rope and fell approximately 20 ft., breaking both of his ankles.
I am Mike Chavez and I was hiking with Buck when he fell. I'm
sending this e-mail to give you an update on Buck's condition,
to share some photos of the hike and rescue, and, most
importantly, to thank all of those involved for their
willingness to help Buck and I in our predicament.
Thanks to all the hikers who were present at the bottom of the
cliff in Sundance Canyon where Buck fell. Amazingly, there were
8-10 people congregated in a place where I have never seen more
than 2 or 3 people. Even more amazing was the good will and
energy all of you showed in taking care of Buck and carrying him
approximately one mile over very rough terrain to the Tramway
Trailhead. WOW! WOW! WOW! I can't say enough and words seem
pitifully inadequate to praise all of you for what you did to
help Buck and I. Thanks!!
Thanks to the Blue Ridge Fire Dept at Happy Jack, The
Pine-Strawberry Fire Dept., The Tonto Rim Search and Rescue
(TRSAR), the local Sheriff Dept, and the Arizona Dept. of Public
Safety helicopter aviation crews for your medical expertise,
search and rescue expertise, raw manpower, rescue equipment, and
communication equipment. Who knows how we would have gotten Buck
out of the canyon without your help. Thanks for your time. To
all of you for whom this rescue was just part of your job, we
are grateful. To all of you who left comfortable homes, friends,
and loved ones to help Buck and I, we are grateful. Thank you!!
We also appreciate that everyone's attitude was simply a desire
to help. Buck and I understand that some of our decisions were
worthy of sharp criticism. Yet, no one judged us or criticized
us to our face. Thank you. We were both feeling bad enough, as
it was, realizing the tremendous effort and sacrifices on our
behalf. I promise that we will learn from this experience and
modify our techniques to be safer. We will do our best to make
sure nothing like this ever happens to us, again.
Buck was transported by helicopter to the Flagstaff Medical
Center where x-rays showed that his left ankle bone was broken
and his right heel bone was shattered. Buck and his wife decided
that he should stay at that hospital where he will undergo
surgery this coming Wednesday. It looks like he will have to be
in a wheel chair for the next three months... not good, but it
could have been worse.
And this was received
Tuesday the 22nd:
It turned out that Buck had surgery today and
everything went well. Thanks for your good wishes.
The tramway was constructed to help transport
fish to stock West Clear Creek and was used until about 1966 for
that purpose. Tramway Trail was constructed at the same time to
assist in the tramway construction and operation.
The tramway was constructed by members of the Verde District
Sportsmen Club in 1942. Installation of the cable took 20
to 30 days using all volunteer labor.
More info here:
Contact the webmaster if
you have any SAR news
Photos by Morris Brown and Bill
Click on thumbnails for larger version
Click Back Button to return here