On Mount Adams in the state of Washington, a team of rescuers saved Josh Adams, a 27-year old hiker from Illinois who became stranded on the edge of a crevasse. Search and Rescue teams made this rescue operation on Thursday, Sept 6 and took just 24 minutes to find Adams after the helicopters were deployed.
According to a news release from the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, on a hiking excursion with his friends, Adams was heading east on Piker’s Peak when slipped almost 70 feet down the slope. This was on the south side of the mountain, and Adams came to rest on an overhang just above the Mazama Glacier.
The head of Yakima Country’s search and rescue team, Sgt. Randy Briscoe, reported that Adams did not have crampons or an ice ax with him, leaving him unable to climb up the slope to safety. Without that specific hiking equipment, the ice terrain is too slippery and Adams would have risked falling off the edge of the precarious overhang.
Adams’ friends reported his fall to the sheriff’s office, and the officials quickly decided to ask for air support from the Washington State Emergency Operation Center. They decided to pursue the rescue by air rather than sending a team up the mountain because they were not sure of Adams’s exact location and it would have taken up to 12 hours to get a team together. As of 2011, the United States had an estimated 224,475 total active general aviation crafts. While many of these aircraft are for personal or recreational use, they become essential in delicate rescue missions.
As Adams had already been stranded with no survival gear, wearing just a pullover sweatshirt and jeans with no gloves, it is likely he would not have survived the night on the mountain.
Two Blackhawk helicopters were launched from the Yakima Training Center with two Washington Mt Rescue members on board. Rescuers spotted Adams quickly, stuck within a few feet of the 11,000-foot crevasse. Due to this danger, the rescue team leader requested more assistance to save him. About a dozen more Washington Mt Rescue members were called.
Adams was in a tricky spot for a helicopter to reach, leaving the rescue team leaders with a challenge. In an attempt to make one of the helicopters lighter so it could get closer to the crevasse, they removed nearly all rescue personnel from one aircraft and deliberately burned more of its fuel. Once they were able to get close enough, one of the rescue personnel was lowered to Adams’s position on a hoist. Adams latched on and they were able to pull both men aboard.
Adams later reported that he had come to Washington to hike Mt. Adams in memory of his brother, Jeremiah Adams. He was a sailor, who had died earlier this year hiking in the Olympic National Forest.