A 15-year-old boy spent the night on the south aspect of Capitol Butte in Sedona after trying to reach the summit Wednesday and getting stranded.
The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office worked with the Arizona Department of Public Safety to try to rescue the teen Wednesday after he called 911 around 12:30 p.m. asking for help.
But low clouds made it difficult to find the teen until someone heard him yelling later in the afternoon. YCSO sent its search-and-rescue team and its backcountry unit to search for the teen.
They tried to reach him on the ground around 7 p.m., but they weren't able to get to him, so they called in the DPS Ranger helicopter, which couldn't reach him due to darkness but lowered a backpack to him that contained materials to survive the night.
According to YCSO, the backpack included warm clothes, hand warmers, water and a radio.
The helicopter picked up the search-and-rescue team for the evening, but a YCSO deputy stayed throughout the night to maintain communication with the teen.
The DPS Ranger helicopter went back up around 7 a.m. Thursday and dropped a backcountry volunteer down to the teen and lifted the two to safety.
Locals say the mountain isn’t for beginners because it doesn’t have many trails—hikers make their own.
The teen's mom said her son had been eyeing this rock for years and she kept saying no, but he went for it without her permission while she was at work.
Freelance photographer and writer Larry Lindahl saw it all happen from his front door and shared his photos with 12 News.
“I gathered that he’s an adventurous 15-year-old out to prove himself or have an experience … I’m thinking the kid is pretty courageous …. My feeling is he did something that didn’t work out completely well, but he has an adventure under his belt he probably won’t make that mistake again,” said Lindahl.
The teen’s mom told 12 News her son was just a little sore with some cuts, scrapes and bruises. She was so grateful to the volunteer crews who helped her son she planned to give their organization monthly donations.
YCSO officials shared the following tips for hikers:
-Never hike alone
-Never leave without telling someone where you're going and how long you'll be gone
-Carry equipment for current and expected weather
-Carry adequate communications devices -- make sure your phone is charged
-If you're in trouble, stay put and call for help