Hiker Rescued From Dismal Trail

The Dismal Trail in northern Greenville County is famous as being one of the steepest and most difficult trails in South Carolina. The trail involves an elevation change of 1200 feet and the entire loop spans 7.8 miles. South Carolina Trails advises hikers to be aware, "you will get a workout while hiking this trail," because it involves a great deal of climbing in either direction. From the Raven Cliff Falls Trail, The Dismal descends most of its distance and some of the descents are steep. The Dismal offers everything from waterfall views to extreme changes in elevation and a massive cliff wall called "The Cathedral".

Last Saturday (September 19th) rescuers from the River Falls and Cedar Mountain fire departments were summoned to the Dismal Trail where a hiker was injured. The hiker had cell phoned for help and was supposed to be about 45 minutes into the hike. However, the rescuers did not know if the hiker was on the lower end or upper end of the trail.


At 12:15 pm, Greenville County attempted to determine exactly where the hiker was on the trail by way of cell phone pings. Meanwhile, rescuers established a command post and two teams of three men each. Team one started out from the top of the trail while Team two started from the bottom prior to the arrival of Caesars Head State Park rangers and Greenville County EMS arrivals. A half hour later the first rescuer had made contact with the hiker and confirmed there were injuries. Team one confirmed the hiker was not below the rock cliffs. At that point in time, other teams were advised to move to the upper side of the trail along with EMS personnel. At 1:25 pm, Team one advised the command post to send available manpower, a patient basket, and a headlamp and All Terrain Vehicles (ATV's) to the upper side. River Falls advised that their ATV was not working. At 1:45 rescue teams were advised that a state truck had arrived with additional personnel. At 1:55 a team of six rescuers were at the top of the trail and were starting their decent. Five minutes later rescuers were informed that a wheel would not fit the patient basket and Team three was coming on the trail with the entire apparatus.


At 2:10 pm Team 1 made contact with Team 3. The command post advised Team 1 that a team of three personnel from Conestee was enroute to offer assistance. At 2:22 Team 1 reported, "Patient is packaged and we are ready to come out of the woods." The team also requested water to be brought to them. At 3:45 Team 1 reported that the patient was not tied down in the ATV and they were making their way out. At approximately 4 pm, Team 1 and Team 3 reached the park ranger's truck.


The hiker was transported by EMS to the hospital in Greenville. The extent of their injuries have not been disclosed.


Last month the River Falls Fire Department participated in the rescue of another hiker on the Falls Creek Falls Trail near Jones Gap State Park.

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