Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Hikers use iPhone for Ripinsky rescue

 


A Haines search and rescue squad located two hikers lost on Mount Ripinsky and brought them down in a few hours Saturday, thanks to an iPhone that one of the hikers was carrying.

The pair – two sisters from New York – got lost while heading down the mountain when they missed the Piedad Road trail, a steep, short-cut trail less developed than the main route. They stopped trying to find their way down when they reached steep terrain, said fire chief Scott Bradford.

Around 2:45 p.m ., the pair dialed 911 and a state trooper in Ketchikan helped the pair use their phone to determine their longitude and latitude, and relayed their coordinates to the rescue crew in Haines.

Rescuers making their way up the mountain used a siren and whistles to alert the pair to their location. They located the women at 1,700 feet on the mountain within 90 minutes and all were down by 6 p.m ., in time for the pair to make a ferry leaving town.

Bradford said the iPhone for hikers was “very handy – as long as you have cell phone service.”

Keith Hutchins, a hiker rescued off the Ripinsky cliff in January 2011 by a Coast Guard helicopter, also was located by use of an iPhone, but at times during his ordeal was out of cell phone range.

Cell coverage also extends only a few miles beyond the downtown core.