Members of Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue were called out Thursday evening to help two hikers lost and stranded in the Seven Falls area of Mission Canyon.
Sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi said the hikers, in their mid-20s, called 9-1-1 about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, and one of the hikers reported being stranded on a cliff overlooking the first of many pools that cascade down into Mission Canyon.
Arnoldi said rescuers hiked up the high ridge trail leading out of Mission Creek to the falls area. With high winds in the area, the rescuers used whistles to alert the hikers, who in turn were able to faintly call out to the rescuers above them, according to Arnoldi.
He said the SAR team used their voices, whistles, lights and night-vision equipment to locate the hikers. Rescuers then climbed down a 200-foot gulley to reach them.
Arnoldi said the hikers were wet and cold, and rescuers replaced the hikers’ wet cotton garments with dry synthetic clothing, including gloves and hats. Heat packs were also activated to help warm the hikers’ core areas.
Additional SAR members arrived, according to Arnoldi, and an anchor and rope belay system was set up to lower the hikers down 15 feet from the ledge on which they were stranded. They were then assisted down the creek bed to the trail head at Tunnel Trail, where they were evaluated by medical personnel and released about 8 p.m.