Lost climber spends night on cliff in Virgin River Gorge

A climber who got lost in the Virgin River Gorge is located by the Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter. However, rescuers weren't able to get to the climber until the following morning, Mohave County, Arizona, Oct. 9, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Mohave County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue. St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A man who got himself stuck on a cliff face in the Virgin River Gorge during a climbing excursion Friday was helped back down by an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter Saturday morning.

2016 photo of an Arizona DPS helicopter in Golden Valley, Ariz., Nov. 18, 2016 | Photo for illustration only, courtesy of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, St. George News

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team was sent to the Virgin River Gorge Friday evening after getting a call that a 34-year-old man had “cliffed” himself while climbing in the gorge, according to a press release from the search and rescue team.

“He began earlier in the day and lost the path he climbed up and was unable to climb down. He had no food or water with him and a low phone battery,” the press release stated.

Responding Sheriff’s deputies and a Bureau of Land Management ranger determined the climber got himself stuck on the cliff face around 14 stories above their location.

An Arizona DPS air rescue helicopter was sent to the scene and located the hiker while the search and rescue team was en route. However, the helicopter was unable to retrieve the climber due to the darkness and steep slopes.

The hiker ended up spending the night on the cliff face until daybreak when the DPS helicopter returned and  performed a one-skid landing and transported him back to the operation command post.

Through fatigued and thirsty, the climber was unharmed.

“Search and Rescue would like to remind everyone to bring plenty of supplies while recreating and do some research before you go into the rugged areas of the County,” the search and rescue team stated in the release.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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