North Rim Rescue: Christmas Miracle

By Faye Higbee

The rescue of a Pennsylvania family from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is being called a “Christmas Miracle” by authorities. The family saw that the road to the North Rim was closed for the winter, but tried to get to it by an alternate  way – which turned out to be a potential catastrophe.

It’s not the first time Coconino County officials have had to find folks who’ve tried to get to the scenic North Rim by alternate routes. But even though Google Maps shows a way to get there, it’s not passable.

The Klein family got stuck on a forest road after finding State Route 67 closed for the winter. They split up, with part f the family hiking to higher ground to get cell service.

Jim Driscoll, Cococino County Chief Deputy said finding them all was a Christmas miracle.

Fox reported,

Searchers on snowmobiles early Saturday morning tracked and located Karen Klein, 46, after she walked about 26 miles in search of help before taking refuge in a cabin at a seasonally closed park entrance, Driscoll said.

Other searchers rescued Eric and Isaac Klein Friday afternoon after the 47-year-old father was able to hike to higher ground to get cellphone service to call for help, Driscoll said.

That contact started an air and ground search for Karen Klein, with multiple agencies participating, Driscoll said.

“This is a Christmas miracle,” Driscoll said. “We were really beginning to think, especially with the snow coming in … we pulled out all the stops.”

Mrs. Klein was found all bundled up in a cabin about 30 miles from the gate. She was so tired after trekking through the deep snow that she didn’t even start a fire.

The snowstorms at the North Rim can be exceedingly treacherous, which is why they close the road leading to it. They expect that people will heed the sign, but people don’t always pay any attention because Google Maps says there’s an alternate route.

“Our guys are ecstatic. This is a save. We were able to get a family back together for Christmas. It could have gone very bad very, very easily.” Jim Driscoll