One of the best short hikes in the Provo area is Battle Creek waterfall just west of Pleasant Grove High School in Pleasant Grove. It’s maybe 1/3 of a mile to the base of the waterfall with a pretty mild elevation gain and a well groomed trail. The first part is a dirt road that is usually closed off by a gate. After that it turns into a single track hiking trail for the remainder of the way.
It is a pretty popular hike for small kids, pets and dates. It is also a great place to teach people to rappel. At the top of the waterfall are a bolt and chain and several large trees that make for perfect anchors. However, the combination of beauty, and ease of access have made it a pretty popular day hike destination. With the crowds also comes the trouble.
The past two times I was up there, there were problems with people needing to be rescued. The first time, I was up there with a couple friends rappelling. There were also some BYU students up there on a date. The boys were taking the girls rappelling for the first time. Using a rock climbing rope, with friction groves on a wet rappel is usually not the best idea. One of the girls became stuck mid rap about 25 feet up. Using a couple other ropes we were able to get the young lady down safely, by switching her ropes and belay devices.
The next time I was up there with a couple friends teaching them to rappel. Once more a bunch of kids were up there on a group date. Two boys decided to climb up the rock face next to the waterfall. I am sure it looked great from the bottom and they climbed it with no protection. There is an age old saying in the outdoor world, “Its easier to go up than down”. This was a saying that neither of these boys have ever heard. When you are rock climbing without ropes, there is another saying people should be aware of, “Coming down can be a lot faster than climbing up”.
Both of the boys ended up on a ledge that was only a couple inches wide. When they realized their only hope of escaping was to step across a smooth dryfall that was about 3 feet wide one of the boys tried stepping across. When he put weight on his foot part of the ledge crumbled dropping the young man about 30 feet to the ground. He was lucky enough to land on a steep slope and slid a good way down which slowed his fall enough to prevent serious injury.
Now imagine you have climbed up something with your best friend and he falls. You are currently in a safe place and don’t have to move, what do you do? Well anyone with a brain larger than the mythical rhinocopotamus would be like “sweet, I am just gonna wait here and encourage someone to call search and rescue”. Unfortunately the young man was not that smart and began to step into the exact same place his friend just did. No seriously, you can’t make this shit up, he really did. The only thing that apparently stopped him was the loud cursing and orders of a tan,middle age bald man with a sour disposition.
It was only a few minutes before search and rescue arrived to pull the young man off of the ledge. I wonder if he had to pay for the rescue. Either way I am glad that all three of the people turned out ok. Battle Creek is a great place to take kids, dates, dogs or teach people the ropes. If you are my ex-girlfriend and want to avoid me, this is where you should go. I have had enough adventure there so you won’t have to worry about running into me.