First responders warn of ice-related accidents when the temperatures rise

Jan 22, 2024, 6:09 PM | Updated: 6:19 pm

OGDEN — When temperatures rise, ice becomes an unexpected danger for hikers and other recreationists in Utah.

Sgt. Kyley Slater, with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, said a woman was struck by ice at the top of Waterfall Canyon Saturday. He said the woman went to look at the frozen waterfall, and a piece of it fell off.

“Canyon, ice, and waterfall, ice is very unpredictable, especially in warmer temps,” Slater said.

Initially, rescue crews attempted to get to her by medical helicopter, but ultimately, searchers helped her walk back down. She was transported to a local hospital with severe injuries.

Slater said it’s important to check avalanche and weather conditions before engaging in outdoor activities during this time of year.

“Many of the trails in northern Utah here all experience some kind of exposure to avalanche terrain as well,” Slater said.

He said some extra traction could help with walking on ice and snow. Slater said bodies of water can often have thick layers of ice in some areas but you never know when it thins.

“Ice is never 100% safe, so it’s always going to be different variables in whatever body of water you go to,” Slater said.

Captain Karl Walker, with the Brigham City Fire Department, said his department usually responds to nearby Mantua Reservoir typically at least once each winter.

“The freeze-thaw cycle really significantly decreases the strength of the ice. As a general rule, clear ice is better than, you know, snow-covered or cloudy ice that’s a little bit older. But again, it’s never a guarantee,” Walker said.

The Mantua Reservoir frozen over

The Mantua Reservoir frozen over. (KSL TV, Mike Anderson)

He said that no one should go alone while engaging outdoors; that way, someone could call for help if anyone got into danger. Walker also wants everyone to be equipped to deal with the ice.

“Something that people don’t think about is maybe some ice awls or some picks, large nails, screwdrivers, something that if you were to go in the ice, you know, you can get yourself back up onto the ice from the water,” Walker said.

You can view guidelines from the Division of Wildlife Resources and Utah State Parks.

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First responders warn of ice-related accidents when the temperatures rise