LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- An injured backpacker was recently rescued at Death Valley National Park, according to park officials.
On Feb. 6, a backpacker on a multi-day trip fell while descending into a side canyon west of the main Cottonwood Canyon, suffering a severe lower extremity injury, according to a news release. Hikers in the canyon below made audible contact with the backpacker and used their satellite device to call for help, the release said.
Because the hikers were unable to ascend the difficult terrain and assist the injured hiker, they made camp and spent the night in order to help via satellite communication with Death Valley National Park Rangers.
A member of Inyo County Search and Rescue (SAR) was inserted into the slot canyon via helicopter at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 7. A California Highway Patrol helicopter then helped extract the injured backpacker to emergency care.
According to Ranger Kevin Ross, Death Valley National Park’s emergency services coordinator, good planning by both the injured man and the party that found him helped him survive.
In addition to having filled out backcountry camping permits, which provided emergency contact information and planned routes to the park, the injured man had proper equipment to spend the night in the park. The equipment was also brightly colored, which made it much easier for search crews to see him in the narrow canyon from the helicopter.
Ranger Ross also noted that the two-way communications, which were possible because of the satellite emergency notification device the other hikers had, were invaluable.
Cell phones don’t work in most of the park. In addition to carrying a satellite communication device, park rangers recommend that people hiking or driving to remote parts of the park tell someone back home what their plans are