The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue technical rope rescue team and DPS Ranger helicopter were called out at 4:30 p.m. Monday (2/15) afternoon to rescue a backpacker who had fallen, injuring his head and hand. The rescue took place on the rugged western slopes of Mt. Tipton within the Mt. Tipton Wilderness Area at an elevation of about 6,000 feet.
The backpacker later identified as Sean Taylor, 39, of Las Vegas, Nevada had camped Sunday (2/14) night on Mt. Tipton and was attempting to descend a steep and rugged canyon toward the trailhead when he fell and was injured. He could not continue and called for help.
Search & Rescue members arrived on scene and assisted DPS configure the helicopter for a short-haul; extraction by a rope hanging below the helicopter. The plan was to rappel a Search & Rescue technical rope technician (TRT) to Taylor, prepare him to connect to the rope and do a short-haul extraction. Unfortunately, the sun was going down rapidly and there was insufficient light to complete the short-haul maneuver.
A Search & Rescue TRT rappelled from the helicopter to Taylor and decided to attempt hiking and climbing down the steep canyon wall to the wash bottom and find a spot where the helicopter could do a one-skid technique to load Taylor. The canyon where Taylor was injured was too narrow and had too many trees to safely attempt a helicopter landing.
After about four hours of descending the wash, Taylor and the rescuer reached a part of the canyon where there was sufficient room for the helicopter to hover above a large rock. Taylor and the rescuer performed a hover-ingress; entering the helicopter while it was still in the air. Taylor was flown to Kingman Regional Medical Center for treatment.