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Recent TRSAR Missions - Tramway Trail Mission - 6/19/2010


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 that point.

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 the 21st.

Hi Folks,

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.

Thanks again,
Mike Chavez


And this was received Tuesday the 22nd:

It turned out that Buck had surgery today and everything went well. Thanks for your good wishes.
Mike Chavez


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:



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