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Cell phone signal was key to rescue of 2 hikers at Death Valley

DEATH VALLEY, CALIF. — A reliable cell phone signal may have meant the difference between life and death for two individuals hiking in a remote area of Death Valley National Park this month.

According to a National Park Service news release, the unidentified hikers were rescued by way of helicopter from Telescope Peak Trail on Feb. 1, after sliding downhill in freezing and icy conditions.

The trail is located near the Mahogany Flat Campground.

In spite of wearing crampons, the two men slipped off the trail when crossing a steep, icy drainage area less than two miles from the trailhead.

A crampon is a traction device that is attached to footwear to improve mobility on snow and ice during ice climbing.

Aside from ice climbing, crampons are also used for secure travel on snow and ice such as crossing glaciers, snow fields and ice fields, as well as ascending snow slopes and scaling ice-covered rock.

“The hikers were not able maintain their footing or climb back up to the trail, in spite of having crampons, trekking poles, and a 200-foot rope,” the release stated. “One of the hikers used a cell phone to call park rangers to request assistance around 10:30 a.m. Due to the steep terrain and icy conditions, park rangers requested assistance from California Highway Patrol’s H-80 helicopter, where the hikers were rescued at roughly 3:50 p.m.”

Fortunately, neither hiker was injured, according to park service officials.

The release did not indicate where the hikers were from.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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