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Team rescues stranded hiker from cliff on North Ogden Divide

Published May 14, 2013 4:03 pm

Man, 43, says he was stranded for 2 nights after injuring ankle.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

North Ogden • Emergency crews rescued a hiker Tuesday who said he had been stuck on a cliff near the North Ogden Divide trail since Sunday.

It took nearly four hours for Weber County Sheriff's Search and Rescue members to locate the 43-year-old hiker, who suffered a hurt ankle, and get him off the mountain using a technical rope rescue.

The sound of chain saws echoed through the ravine below as crews worked to clear a path to bring him out. The man appeared to be stuck on a granite outcropping that juts above the surrounding pine forest, but by 1:20 p.m., rescuers had hoisted him onto a stretcher and lowered him through the cascading foliage.

The man was off the mountain just after 2 p.m., and an ambulance transported him to McKay-Dee Hospital for medical treatment.

According to Weber County Sgt. Brandon Toll, the man said he began hiking near North Skyline Trail on Sunday. He went off the trail and became "cliffed out," he reportedly said, where he could not move up or down the craggy mountainside.

But Toll said the story "didn't add up." The man told rescuers that a friend dropped him off about 2 p.m. Sunday in Nordic Valley near Wolf Mountain Ski Resort — a mere hour away on foot according to Toll. Also, the trail is popular, but no other hikers saw him, Toll said, and he was never reported missing.

"He was not prepared for a multi-day hike," Toll added. "He isn't making a lot of sense at this point. He claims he was supposed to be picked up."

Toll went on to say that the man's story may have had discrepancies because he was suffering from hunger and dehydration.

The spot where the man became stranded was visible from the road and, as the crow flies, only about 150 yards away. During the rescue operation passersby could hear crews shouting orders from the cliffs.

Toll added that the man was wearing a tank top and shorts, and said the temperatures had dipped into the 40's over the last two nights.

Search and rescue worker Brandon Woods said he believed the man was actually stranded for two nights. "[He] just got off the trail and got disoriented."

The hiker's sister has been contacted as authorities try to piece together and verify the man's story.

The trail head is located at the top of North Ogden Divide Canyon Road, near 3100 North.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the North Ogden Divide trail is 11.4 miles long, and climbs to the summit of Ben Lomond Peak, then continues along a ridge to Willard Peak.

jdalrymple@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jimmycdii