Search on For Overdue Hikers In Grand Canyon National Park

A search is under way in Grand Canyon National Park along the Royal Arch Trail for a couple from Salt Lake City that has been reported overdue. Royal Arch photo by Gonzo fan2007 via flickr.

A search is under way in Grand Canyon National Park for two Salt Lake City residents who are thought to have headed into the western portion of the park for a 45-mile backpacking trek.

Alan Humphrey and Iris Faraklas were reported overdue on Sunday after failing to arrive in Prescott, Arizona, as planned. The two were thought to be headed to Prescott after spending a week in the park.

Late Monday afternoon rangers tracked down a friend of the couple who said they had planned to backpack the Royal Arch route—a difficult, 45-mile-loop. At the same time, rangers learned that Iris had maintained her maiden name, Faraklas, and may have obtained a permit under that name. Searchers immediately rechecked backcountry permits for this second name and found a permit issued for May 17 – 23 in the name of Iris Faraklas for two people to travel the Royal Arch route.

With that information in hand, rangers last night found the couple's vehicle parked at the South Bass trailhead. This morning search and rescue rangers flew the southern portion of the Royal Arch route, focusing along the rim and on areas known to be more technically challenging. During this initial hasty search the couple was not found, but hikers along the trail were contacted and interviewed to determine if any hikers in the area had seen or made contact with the pair.

After refueling, search and rescue rangers flew the remainder of the Royal Arch route, as well as other high probability areas, without locating the couple. Two teams of rescuers are now searching the Royal Arch route on foot.

Rangers described Alan P. Humphrey, 39, as standing 6-foot-1, weighing 190 pounds, and with blond hair and blue eyes. His wife, Iris Faraklas, is 35, 5’10” and 150 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information about Alan Humphrey or Iris Faraklas are being asked to contact Grand Canyon’s Emergency Dispatch Center at 928-638-7805.

Comments

This sounds like one of those very rare times when they should have been carrying a SPOT. Let's all hope that they are well and will be found soon.

Iris and Alan's Search Updates

"This blog was created so friends and family can post updates on the search for Iris Faraklas and Alan Humphrey."

They have been found alive. See http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_9407607?source=rss.

just womdering if anyone has heard what went on during the ranger "de-briefing" of this fortunate couple. Just what led to their need for rescue? Where did they lose the trail? Were there hydration issues? I understand these were "experienced" GC hikers... What can we learn from their errs? I suspect that they got lost sometime during their trek across the tonto towards S Bass junction...

Joe,

The call for a SAR went out when the couple failed to show up in Prescott on a previously agreed upon date. I'm not exactly sure where they lost the trail. Park officials said simply that they "overshot" their exit route and went into the wrong side canyon. Hydration didn't seem to be a major problem, as they supposedly found a water source that they remained close to. They were found when they decided, due to dwindling food, to head down to the river with hopes of finding help and ran into searchers.

My opinion is that the Bass combo is far easier, from a trail-finding perspective, navigating from South-North. Losing the exit trail, the lower South Bass heading up to the rim, isn't all that difficult to do when approaching from the river. They made a great decision to head back to the river, as even if rescuers hadn't promptly found them they most likely would have run into one of the many sympathetic river parties who often make camp in the general area, and at the very least would have been able to obtain a limited amount of suppliers from them, and again most likely, would have been able to avail themselves of the tour's radio gear and put out a may-day. They failed to make the biggest blunder that most "lost" hikers do, that is, losing one's capacity for rational thought. As far as what we can learn from their errors, KEEP THINKING and don't get overly emotional. That alone increases your chances for success exponentially over the lost, frightened, irrational wanderer.

Again, nothing like a happy ending!