Last week, a mountain rescue team was in the middle of their practice run when they got an emergency call to come and save a hiker. The Organ Mountain Technical Rescue Squad, based in New Mexico, was in the midst of its annual training when it got a call for help from beyond the neighboring mountain range. According to KRQE News, when they arrived at the scene, volunteers found that a hiker had gotten lost and been hit on the head by a rock. Although his companions had stopped the bleeding from his head injury, they needed help getting back on track.
The squad took to Facebook to detail the hiker rescue. “We were able to reach them, do a secondary assessment, and short-roped the subject back to the nearest trail, where everyone was able to hike out safely,” they wrote. “Good to be working with Mesilla Valley Search and Rescue, Doña Ana County Search & Rescue Association, Ltd, and LCFD [Las Cruces Fire Department] to make sure the hiker was able to get back down safely and reach more definitive care quickly.”
The Organ Mountain Technical Rescue Squad focuses on mountainous and difficult terrain, cave rescue as well as regular searches. Back in October, they saved a group of 27 backpackers from being stranded by floodwaters in Gila National Forest. The majority of the group were Boy Scouts. Normally easy river crossings became impossible due to heavy rains, and eventually, the two National Guard helicopters rescued them.
The squad routinely assists in hiker rescues
When the incident started, four of the hikers were on the other side of the Main Group River. They were trying to make their way toward the cliff-dwelling parking lot. These four were seen by rescuing helicopters and airlifted out along with two young adult female hikers. They were also got stranded because of high water in West Fork. 27 hikers were rescued by helicopter according to Laurie Wlosinski, New Mexico State Police Search and Rescue volunteer.
Wlosinski stated that there were other groups present at the site who were ready to offer assistance if needed. These include the Organ Mountain Technical Rescue and Mesilla Valley Search and Rescue from Las Cruces, Dona Ana County Search and Rescue, and employees from the National Park Service at the Cliff Dwellings. Wlosinski said the U.S. Forest Service – Gila National Forest was immediately helpful by allowing the hiker rescue to happen with aircraft in the Wilderness Area.
The Gila National Forest in New Mexico was established in 1905. It is the sixth-largest protected national forest in the continental United States. It spans approximately 2,710,659 acres of public land. Alterations to the Gila National Forest are made in order to maintain its natural resources and beauty. The forest manages 614,202 acres in New Mexico and 3.3 million acres in total. The first designated wilderness reservation was created here in 1924 by the U.S. government–it is known as the Gila Wilderness. In addition, other well-known landmarks exist within its borders such as Aldo Leopold Wilderness and Blue Range Wilderness.