A Santa Barbara man and his two dogs were rescued Friday night from the cliffs below Arlington Peak after they became stranded at nightfall, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department said Sunday.
According to sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, the 53-year-old man and his dogs began hiking Friday afternoon from the end of Tunnel Road in the Santa Barbara foothills. She said his plan was to reach Cathedral Peak north of Arlington Peak and return to the trailhead before it got dark.
“On the way back down, the hiker lost the unimproved trail several times and found himself stuck on the face of the large vertical cliff section of rocks below Arlington Peak above Inspiration Point,” Hoover said.
“Being fatigued and concerned about himself or one of his dogs falling if they continued in the dark, he called 9-1-1 to request assistance.”
Hoover said nine members of the sheriff’s all-volunteer Search and Rescue team responded and, just after 9 p.m., they located the cliff area where the hiker was trapped using the GPS coordinates provided by the man’s phone and a visual search of the mountainside.
SBCSAR teams with ropes and technical rescue equipment climbed up to the hiker and his dogs and helped them get back down to Tunnel Trail around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Hoover said. The man, whose identity was not disclosed, and his dogs were unhurt in the incident.
Hoover said Search and Rescue team members noted that the steep, unimproved trail is difficult to follow even under the best conditions. They advised that only experienced and physically fit hikers attempt the climb, and recommended that they take plenty of water, a good headlamp and adequate clothing in case they find themselves descending the trail in the dark. It’s also wise for hikers to tell someone where they’re going and when they expect to return.
The team credited the rescued hiker with recognizing his predicament, using his cell phone to call for assistance and waiting for help to arrive.