Rescue crews urge outdoor enthusiasts to be prepared in the mountains

Jan 11, 2024, 10:11 PM | Updated: Jan 12, 2024, 7:07 am

SALT LAKE CITY — With fresh layers of snow blanketing mountainous terrains and a holiday weekend on the horizon, rescue teams are bracing for a surge in calls.

Landon Middaugh, a seasoned rescuer with six years of experience, recounted Monday’s rescue at Powder Mountain that Utah’s Department of Public Safety conducted. He highlighted the unpredictable nature of winter operations, where rescues become a race against time, especially with the sun setting.

“A helicopter rescue isn’t guaranteed to anybody,” Middaugh said, pointing out the limitations imposed by adverse weather conditions. “We’re not always able to fly, you know, with weather coming in,” he added.

Ryan Clerico, a member of Salt Lake County Search and Rescue, agreed. He emphasized that conditions, particularly in the backcountry, can be exceptionally perilous. Even a seemingly minor incident, such as a knee injury, may pose challenges regarding timely assistance.

“Hypothermia is harder, avalanche conditions are harder, everything is harder,” Clerico said.

The rescue team relies on a fleet of snowmobiles, but swift and effective operations depend on individuals taking responsibility for their safety.

Middaugh stressed the importance of readiness, telling KSL TV, “I just can’t emphasize that enough. It helps us. The more prepared you are, the better that missions go.”

Practical tips for those heading into winter adventures include ensuring that cellphones are fully charged, carrying avalanche beacons for backcountry excursions, dressing in warm layers, and having a flashlight on hand. These precautions can make a significant difference in ensuring personal safety and minimizing the challenges rescue teams face.

The best-case scenario is for outdoor enthusiasts to avoid finding themselves in a situation where a public safety helicopter becomes their only lifeline.

KSL 5 TV Live

Outdoors & Recreation

A bridge on two popular hiking trails in Little Cottonwood Canyon was closed June 14 due to extreme...

Shelby Lofton

High runoff causes extreme flooding, bridge damage in Little Cottonwood Canyon trails

A bridge on a popular hiking trail is closed due to extreme flooding and damage.

2 days ago

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said remaining permits for elk and deer hunts this fall wil...

Mark Jones

Remaining elk and deer hunting permits to be sold starting in July

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says remaining permits for elk and deer hunts this fall will be made available for purchase next month.

2 days ago

A reflective monolith found by Vegas Metro Search and Rescue near Gass Peak over the weekend....

Michael Houck and Eliza Pace, KSL TV

A reflective monolith appears in outskirts of Las Vegas

Three years since a mysterious monolith appeared in the Utah wilderness, a new one was found in the mountains near Las Vegas.

3 days ago

Officials at Grand Canyon National Park say a hiker died at the parkon Sunday, June 16, 2024. (Nati...

Mark Jones

Hiker dies at Grand Canyon National Park

Officials at Grand Canyon National park say a hiker died over weekend inside the park.

3 days ago

A group of teenagers were climbing up rocks at a hiking spot in Utah County when a large boulder br...

Brianna Chavez

Search and rescue crews faced difficult challenges in rescue of injured 16-year-old boy

A group of teenagers were climbing up rocks at a hiking spot in Utah County when a large boulder broke loose and struck a 16-year-old boy on Friday. The boy suffered a broken femur, according to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

4 days ago


Mark Jones

Boy, 16, suffers leg injury after being struck by a boulder near Red Ledges

A 16-year-old boy suffered a serious leg injury after being struck by a boulder on Friday at Red Ledges Picnic Area in Utah County.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Rescue crews urge outdoor enthusiasts to be prepared in the mountains