Missing Hiker Near Abiquiu Lake

On Monday afternoon, November 2,  2015, a mission was launched to find a missing 50 year old woman who had sent text messages to her friend the previous evening that she was lost in an area to the northwest of Abiquiu Lake in the Chama River Canyon Wilderness. She had begun her hike Sunday afternoon intending to hike up the Rim Vista Trail with her dog and after the trail had ended continued to hike along the mesa rim off trail looking for a route off the mesa and back to her vehicle. As darkness arrived, she was in a dangerous position on a cliff face where she could neither progress downward or move back up to the top of the rim. At some point in this effort her cell phone service was lost and she was unable to communicate her position. She spent that night in mid 30’s temperature with inadequate clothing, food or water.

After her friend made an unsuccessful attempt to find her the following morning, she was reported as a missing person to the NM State Police. A search and rescue mission was launched mid afternoon and search resources arrived at Incident Base shortly after sunset, Monday evening. Based on information established in interviews with the reporting party, two ground search teams were assigned to cover adjacent grids in an area with the highest probability of locating the subject. At approximately 10pm, one of the teams reported hearing faint responses to sound sweeps and began moving in difficult terrain toward the source. An hour later, positive voice contact was established, however, the subject was above them on the cliff face. While that team searched for a safe route up the cliff face in the darkness to the subject, the second team searching on the mesa above was routed to her coordinates and established physical contact with her at approximately 11:30pm. A medical assessment was preformed and the subject was determined to be physically able to hike out with the team. After the subject was warmed up and given nourishment, she was assisted back to the top of the cliff face and back along the rim and finally down to Incident Base arriving at approximately 2pm.

Posted in Missions