Tonto Rim Search and Rescue volunteers and Tonto Basin firefighters work together Sunday to carry a woman out of Salome Canyon. The woman injured her shoulder after sliding down some rocks. TRSAR has responded to nearly 40 calls this year.
On top of three days of swift water rescue training, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue volunteers had a tiring weekend with a difficult rescue in Salome Canyon, northeast of Roosevelt Lake.
Officials say a 34-year-old woman was hauled some 80 vertical feet up a shear cliff after injuring her arm while canyoneering with four family members Sunday.
TRSAR Commander Bill Pitterle said they were in the middle of training at the lower Salt River when they got a call about noon Sunday that a woman was trapped in the canyon.
“They were in an area north of Roosevelt Lake where people like to rappel and swim and rappel through the canyon,” Pitterle said. “The woman went down one of the slides and landed on her arm wrong, dislocating her right shoulder.”
The woman complained of extreme pain and was unable to hike the rugged terrain back to the trailhead.
Pitterle grabbed three TRSAR volunteers, leaving nine behind to continue swift water rescue training and headed to Salome Canyon.
Another eight TRSAR volunteers from Payson met Pitterle at the trailhead.
After two and half miles of scrambling over rough terrain, volunteers arrived at the lip of the canyon, directly above where the woman lay injured below.
The Tonto Basin Fire Department was already on scene and in the canyon with the woman, giving her medical aid.
TRSAR volunteers set up a series of ropes anchored to nearby rocks, creating a pulley system to haul the woman up over the cliff.
After rigging a haul system, a litter was lowered along with a volunteer who loaded the woman safely into the litter. Volunteers on the top gradually pulled the woman up some 80 feet, Pitterle said.
A Department of Public Safety Ranger helicopter landed nearby and transported the woman to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Pitterle said the area where the woman was sliding looked relatively safe.
“She just landed funny and wrenched her shoulder,” he said.
TRSAR has responded to nearly 40 rescues this year. Funded by donations and powered by a dedicated group of volunteers, each member devotes hours of free time to training and missions each month.
For more information or to donate, visit www.trsar.org.