press release - 02151702

Sheriff's Search and Rescue Assists Stuck Hiker


Sheriff's Search and Rescue Assists Stuck Hiker

Hiker Rescued From Inspiration Point Cliff


Solvang - February 15th, 2017


The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team (SBCSAR) conducted a technical cliff rescue yesterday, February 14, 2017, in order to help a stranded male hiker.  The rescue took four hours and involved climbing supported by ropes to reach the hiker who was more than two hundred feet from the ground.


The male in his twenties, who was new to the area, had gone on a late afternoon Valentine’s Day hike to Inspiration Point via the Tunnel Trailhead.  After staying to watch the sunset, he proceeded to hike back down to his car parked at the trailhead but could not find the trail. He traversed down to the creek but was not able to continue due to the high water from the recent rains. He hiked back up trying to locate the main trail but when we was unable to do so he again turned down canyon until he was once again stopped by high rocks and water pools.  He started up a gully coming down from a rocky ridge.  After scrambling up about 300-feet he came to a rock face he could not get around and realized he had to go back down.


He climbed back down approximately 75 feet and came to a vertical cliff 225 feet above Mission Creek where he became stuck.  Fearing for his safety, he called 9-1-1.  Using GPS locating applications and talking to others hiking on the main trail, dispatchers along with SBCSAR personnel were able to get an approximate location of the stranded hiker.  Arriving at the trail above Mission Creek, SBCSAR personnel quickly spotted the hiker’s headlamp across the canyon on a sheer cliff a couple hundred feet above the creek.  Technical rock rescues teams were deployed down the creek and to the trail to Inspiration Point to scout out possible access routes to rescue the hiker.  After searching for about 30 minutes, a SBCSAR team found a chute with debris flow as the result of the recent rains.  Facing extremely loose dirt and dislodged rocks, two SBCSAR members climbed up the chute using multiple belay ropes.  After approximately 45 minutes, the rescuers made their way to the stranded hiker on the rocky cliff-face where the hiker was secured in a harness and attached to a rope anchor the team members had established.  Several rappelling stations were then set up and at approximately 12:30 a.m., the hiker was lowered on ropes back down the cliff to the creek where other SBCSAR members led out him to the trailhead.


Due to the recent rains, our local trails are showing signs of instability, significant rock fall and debris flows.  The Sheriff’s Office and SBCSAR team wants to take this opportunity to remind those going out on hikes to use extreme caution and to stay on established trails.  For further hiking tips please go and click on Hiking Tips.


For Media Inquires Contact PIO Kelly Hoover


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