Hiker stranded on steep rock face rescued Wednesday in Spearfish Canyon
SPEARFISH, SD (July 23, 2020) – A lost hiker who inadvertently found herself on a steep rock face in Spearfish Canyon was successfully rescued via high-angle/rope rescue Wednesday.
“It was a successful outcome,” Spearfish Fire Department Division Chief Travis Ladson said, describing that safety was the priority for the hiker and the rescue personnel.
He explained that the 19-year-old female, from Douglas, Wyo., had reportedly started hiking around 10 a.m. at Botany Bay in Spearfish Canyon. She reportedly became lost and tried to head down the mountain to the roadway but slid and became trapped on the steep rock face. The hiker, who did not receive any serious injuries during the ordeal but was stranded, began yelling for help, and two female bystanders taking photos in the canyon heard the hiker and telephoned for help.
The Spearfish Fire Department received the call for service at 11:44 a.m. and was dispatched to the Bridal Veil Falls area. The hiker was located approximately 300 feet up on an 800-foot-tall rock wall to the west of the highway. Rescue personnel were on scene about 11:55 a.m., began the ascent at approximately 12:22 p.m., and reached the hiker at about 1:08 p.m. With the terrain, a high-angle/rope rescue was required to get the hiker and personnel down the rock face, with an approximately 80-foot rappel required to a trail below, where they were able to hike out to the roadway.
“Everything went well. It’s a lengthy process,” Ladson said, describing that the hiker was off the rock face and at the trail below at about 3:45 p.m. after a 10-minute rappel. “Safety is the priority, and setting up, checking ropes, and ensuring everyone’s safety in this type of an environment takes time.”
The temperature was approximately 92 degrees during the rescue, and Ladson said rescuers provided water and shade to the hiker during the rescue to help keep her hydrated after her time in the sun.
“We’re just glad everything worked out as well as it did,” Ladson said, adding that there were no injuries to the hiker nor rescue personnel.
Ladson cautioned people to stay on designated trails and avoid climbing in Spearfish Canyon, as there are many areas with loose rock and extreme terrain.
The Spearfish Fire Department, Lawrence County Search and Rescue, and Pennington County Search and Rescue responded to the call.
The Spearfish Fire Department cleared from the call at approximately 5 p.m.