Two separate groups visiting the rock formation known as The Subway in Zion National Park needed rescuing Monday after officials say they were unprepared. Before commencing their hike, one group mocked a ranger’s recommendations to take ropes and harnesses with them, reported the St. George News.
One hiker spent the night with rescuers before being airlifted by a helicopter, with another group spending the night in the canyon after getting lost. They were found and rescued Monday morning.
The Subway is a tubular formation within the Left Fork of North Creek in the park and there is a lottery system for permits. For hikers starting at the top of the canyon, there is an unavoidable 30-foot rappel that requires ropes and technical canyoneering gear.
“The ranger recommended they bring a rope and multiple harnesses for at least one of the rappels, but the leader of the group, who had been there before, said that they could cross the log and find an easier way down,” reads the press release.
When the group reached the 30-foot rappel, without the recommended equipment, they attempted to make the 6- or 7-foot jump to the other side of the drop, but one person landed badly and received a knee injury.
The other group that officials say was wearing “inappropriate footwear,” got lost several times while hiking toward The Subway. They finally reached the famous formation late Sunday night, so they spent an unexpected night in the canyon. Monday morning, they got lost again and missed the trail that leads out of the canyon to the trailhead, according to the press release. Heat exhaustion started to set in, so members of the group activated their emergency locator and reported a heat-related illness. Search and rescue responders were able to locate the group, give them water and help them find their way back to the trailhead.
Park officials said both rescues are good examples for visitors to plan their trip thoroughly and take their safety seriously by being prepared with all the necessary gear.