New Mexico SAR

Multi-State SAR Effort Saves Cliffed-Out Hiker Near Farmington, New Mexico

DENVER, COLORADO — In a remarkable display of interstate collaboration and dedication, the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council, alongside teams from New Mexico, Colorado, and local emergency services, successfully conducted a high-risk rescue mission to save a hiker trapped on a cliff near Farmington on Friday night.

The operation kicked off at 9:17pm, following an urgent call for assistance regarding a hiker who had become dangerously stranded. Albuquerque Mountain Rescue swiftly coordinated with Atalaya Search and Rescue from Santa Fe, La Plata County Search and Rescue from Colorado, Cibola Search and Rescue, and the Farmington Fire Department to formulate a rescue plan.

Due to the hiker’s precarious position on the cliff and the onset of night, rescuers employed a high-angle rope system—a technique reserved for the most challenging terrains. After navigating treacherous conditions, the team was able to reach the hiker and safely lower them to the canyon floor. Upon reaching the ground, the hiker received immediate medical attention for hypothermia before being transported to a nearby ambulance, highlighting the critical nature of the situation and the timely response of the rescue teams.

The operation spanned over 10 hours, with rescuers heading back to Albuquerque at 0700 the following Saturday morning. This mission underscored the exceptional commitment of search and rescue volunteers who often face extreme conditions to ensure the safety of outdoor enthusiasts.

As outdoor adventures continue to attract many, this incident serves as a vital reminder of the inherent risks associated with exploring natural terrains. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, here are some essential safety tips for outdoor enthusiasts:

  1. Plan Ahead: Always research your destination and understand the challenges you might face.
  2. Stay on Marked Trails: Venturing off-trail can lead to dangerous situations, including becoming cliffed-out.
  3. Inform Someone: Always let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
  4. Pack Appropriately: Carry sufficient water, food, and clothing to handle changes in weather, especially in environments prone to rapid temperature drops.
  5. Navigation Skills: Familiarize yourself with navigation tools such as maps, compasses, or GPS devices.
  6. Understand and Respect Local Wildlife: Keeping a safe distance from animals ensures both your safety and theirs.
  7. Learn Basic First Aid: Knowing how to treat minor injuries can be crucial in an emergency.
  8. Carry a Charged Cell Phone: In case of emergency, having a means to call for help is essential. Consider bringing a portable charger.


This recent rescue highlights the importance of being prepared and making safe decisions while exploring the great outdoors. The dedication of search and rescue teams across states ensures that help is available in critical moments, but it’s up to each individual to take the necessary precautions to minimize risks and protect the wilderness for all to enjoy.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

Learn more about how we protect public lands and prevent SAR calls through education & advocacy.

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