Missing Couple Found in Grand Canyon National Park

A couple missing for nearly a week in Grand Canyon National Park along the Royal Arch Trail has been found. Royal Arch photo by Gonzo fan2007 via flickr.

A Salt Lake City couple that got turned around in a remote and rugged section of Grand Canyon National Park has been found. Park rangers plan to interview them today to find out exactly what happened.

Alan Humphreys and Iris Faraklas were located about 5 p-m Wednesday in the Royal Arch area on the western end of the park. They had been missing in the area since Saturday. The couple was tired but otherwise in good condition. They were flown by helicopter to the South Rim Helibase where they refused any medical treatment and were reunited with family members.

A search of the 45-mile-long Royal Arch route and surrounding area was initiated soon after the couple was reported overdue Sunday. Search efforts included aerial searches, three teams of ground searchers and one technical rope team.

The Royal Arch route, while popular with more experienced Grand Canyon travelers, is a difficult route. Like many of the routes in the Grand Canyon, completing this loop requires route finding, canyoneering skills and traveling through areas with limited water. Park rangers recommend that people planning to travel in remote areas leave a detailed itinerary with family or friends and that they include an equipment list that includes descriptions of footwear and gear that can aide emergency personnel during a search effort.

Comments

I have read several guide books about the Royal Arch route and while it sounds beautiful... I have always been too chicken to do it. The guides have always made me feel as though it was out of my technical realm and in that area I am not going to take chances... the limited water part is just plain scarey. I am very glad that this search yeilded a happy ending!

This IS good news. I too am glad they were found. Were they perhaps not as prepared as they should have been? At least they had folks who knew when they were due to return.

There have been numerous comments written on various boards questioning the couples preparedness and questioning why they did not have a PLB or SPOT or GPS. I live in Henderson, NV and having hiked the Grand Canyon from the South Rim and the North Rim it is very easy to take the wrong turn especially in the remote areas of the GC National Park. This hike/trip is for experienced people, Greenhorns need not apply and in all the literature I have ever read about the Royal Arch Loop it all says the sme thing - Difficult, route finding required, climbing and technical skills needed. I am sure that Alan and Iris were prepared and had the skill set to take on the Royal Arch loop trek. But people make mistakes and in some places those mistakes can be no big deal and in others they will kill.

Fortuately Alan and Iris were found and are safe and this is a credit to themselves and to the Park Rangers for for doing such a good job in SAR.

I would be really interested in seeing their de-breif from the trip and understanding were they missed the
turn(s) and what they did after realizing their mistake. This is something we all can learn from if the Park Service is willing to share their report.