Lost hiker found in the Uintas
July 17, 2012
A Salt Lake City woman and her dog were found in good condition by Summit County Search and Rescue teams on Sunday after spending the night lost in the Uintas.
The 20 year-old woman was camping with her black Labrador Sage, her brother and four friends at Ruth Lake in the Uintas over the weekend. On Saturday, at about 2 p.m., she told the other campers she was going to take her dog for a hike, according to Summit County Detective Sergeant Ron Bridge.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office reported that at 4 p.m., the other campers began to search for the lost hiker and when they were unable to locate her, they reported it to the Uinta Ranger Station.
Summit County Search and Rescue members quickly responded, accompanied by a police dog and a Life Flight helicopter.
Search operations continued through the night and Bridge said the woman was located on Sunday morning around 10 a.m.
"She wasn’t dressed for overnight temperatures or rain, but we located her in good condition and she checked out OK," Bridge said. "She was found by search and rescue crews about three miles from Ruth Lake and said that she just got lost while hiking with her dog."
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The Sheriff’s office received reports of a second missing hiker in the Uintas on Saturday afternoon but before search and rescue crews could respond the hiker returned to their camp.
According to Sheriff’s Liaison to Summit County Search and Rescue Alan Siddoway, search and rescue teams have responded to 18 reports of missing hikers so far this year. A relatively small number, he said.
"The first thing we do when we get the report of a missing person is to muster all the resources we can," he said. "We then do an evaluation of the person missing based on how well dressed they are for the conditions, how well they know the area and how they may handle being lost, like if they will panic."
Siddoway said a "hasty search" is done first to clear the immediate area. Teams then search a larger area and if they can deploy air support.
"We have been doing this long enough we often know areas that people may come out, like a trailhead or drainage area," he said. "Helicopters help because they can see a large area and the person can hear them and know that we are looking for them."
During the search for the missing hiker over the weekend, Siddoway said that search and rescue deployed a blood hound along with a forest ranger’s search dog.
Siddoway added that everyone should be prepared whenever they go into the forest, tell someone the exact trail they will be hiking and should never hike alone.