Sheriff SLCo’s SAR crew rescue 2 cliff skiers in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Photo: Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, April 18, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) – Search and rescue teams from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office spent Friday evening rescuing two stranded skiers in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

The crews were called at 8:20 p.m. to help two “cliff” skiers, according to a press release from SLCo SAR.

“Cliffed out”, similar to “ledged up”, is a term used to describe skiers or hikers who find they cannot descend and often cannot climb either.

“SLCOSAR was called on Friday evening to assist two ‘cliff’ skiers near Mount Superior,” the declaration said.

Photo: Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue

“The two left Alta early Friday afternoon, intending to ski the south face of Superior. They missed their line and ended up descending further west, between Superior and Monte Cristo.

“They enjoyed the turns in excellent snow until they encountered a strip of cliff that blocked the progression downhill. They realized they weren’t on the south face of Superior and since they had no technical gear to rappelling or knowledge of a “stealth route” around the cliffs, they decided to call help.

Crews arrived at the scene, observing the stranded skiers with the naked eye and using a night vision device, pictured below.

Photo: Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue

“It was decided that the skiers should go up to the top of the Superior where they would have the possibility to descend either the south face, or to go back down the approach road”, indicates the SAR statement of the SLCo.

“A team of four rescuers were deployed on skis, using the approach route and intending to reach and provide patients with warm clothing, headlamps, food and water before go down with them.

A helicopter illuminated the location of the skiers as the ski darkened.

Photo: Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue

“A rescue team watched the skiers slow their progress from a location on the LCC road below Snowbird, using night vision and thermal imaging optics. After a short time, the DPS team was available, flew to the location of the patients, and determined they could hoist them off the mountain.

As the ground crew was an hour or more away and the patients still had considerable elevation to reach the summit, a lifting operation was chosen, the statement said.

“It was also around 15 degrees on the mountain and the skiers had been away for over 8 hours. The lifting operation went well and the two patients quickly returned to Alta base.

The ground crew were called back, made a few turns in the dark, and returned to command safely. All were out of the mountain by 11:30 p.m.

“We thank the Utah Department of Public Safety, Alta Marshals and Alta Ski Patrol for their rescue assistance,” the statement said.

He also invited interested parties to find out more about the organization through his website.

Photo: Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue

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