Twenty five rescue personnel from Garfield and Mesa Counties were involved in a 21 hour operation to rescue 3 men who had been hiking in the Anvil Points area west of Rifle. The rescue began when Garfield County Emergency Communications received a 911 call from the hikers late Friday afternoon. They were requesting help, as they had climbed up a steep rocky slope and were unable to proceed up or down due to the risk of falling from ledges. The hikers reported that they were not injured but were out of water and had not prepared to be out overnight. To locate the hikers, two search and rescue members were flown to the area by helicopter. Ten additional Garfield search and rescue members responded by ground to search for the stranded men. The hikers were able to signal rescuers with a flashlight at dusk and communicated by cell phone to acknowledge their location. The helicopter was not able to land near the area due to the steep terrain. Due to darkness the stranded hikers were advised by phone that they would have to spend the night on the mountain side and wait until daylight for rescue. Operations resumed at 6 Saturday morning. The stranded hikers were finally reached by a rope rescue team at 10 Saturday morning. Just before 2, rescuers were able to walk the subjects out after securing them into a rope system. The hikers were tired and dehydrated but uninjured. Garfield County Search and Rescue reminds hikers to use extreme caution when attempting to travel in difficult terrain, make careful route selections and to be prepared with proper training, equipment and provisions. Photo of the rescue efforts courtesy of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. Click to Enlarge.