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Recent TRSAR Missions - Salome Canyon

Salome Canyon Rescue
10-10-10

Photos by Gary Morris

 

The mission this morning was long. We were called out around midnight because of the age of the kids - 3 kids, 13, 10, 9 in the bottom of Salome. They were held up getting through the canyon because a group of 30 was ahead of them, and only had 2 harnesses for the places requiring lowering. They wound up being caught after dark about halfway through, cold from water, little food, etc. The dad of a couple of them hiked out for help, was concerned about hypothermia. the 9 yr old girl was only like 60 lbs.

Six members showed up - a good crew: Myself, Roger, Tammy, Ernest, Gary Morris, and Morris Brown. We hiked in with rope gear and warm weather gear, food, water, etc, with plan of finding them and keeping them warm until morning, then decide whether to rope them out in the morning or let them continue down canyon.

The first problem was finding them. That took a couple hours. The first 4 of us on scene came in where the last rescue was, about halfway, then worked upstream whistling and shining lights into canyon. The water was quite high from rain last week, so very loud down in the canyon. Roger and Tammy arrived later with truck, and started at lower end of Canyon because we weren't having any luck. We met in the middle, then worked back downstream, found them about 1/4 mile below last rescue, but canyon walls get very high quickly, and access gets difficult.

They finally whistled back (mouth whistle - the guy was good at it. We now know where "The Jug" or "Keyhole" is, right above a 15 foot waterfall that folks need to be lowered over. I think it goes by both names. Where the fence is on the trail, follow it down on the south side, then work south a bit. A small canyon scoured clean of potential rockfall by rainstorms, but polished smooth so difficult to find anchors. We found a couple of bombproof ones, but it took some looking with flashlights.

Probably took another 45 minutes to find suitable anchors, then rig, then lower Roger down. It was 160 ft to the bottom here, mostly vertical with 2 tiny ledges. We used a 180 ft rope for belay, and there was 10 ft of it on the ground when Roger touched, and we were 10 ft back from the edge.

By this time it was 5:00AM. They were cold, tired, hungry and opted for rope haul out of the canyon. It took 4 hours to get them all up - 5 separate hauls, one with Roger and the youngest girl, then the rest, then get Roger out of Canyon again. It was time consuming to pull haul rope through pulley system, coil it, toss it back down, toss the belay back down, etc after each haul, re-rig each person for the trip up, tough haul field required 5 resets each person, etc, etc.

Break down system, hike out, back to vehicles by 10:30AM, home by noon.

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