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Teen boys rescued from cliff in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Published: Thursday, Aug. 9 2012 4:49 p.m. MDT

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON — The parents of two teens stuck on a ridge here overnight said they were scared when police told them what was happening.

Then they were angry.

"I'm going to give him a hug and then I'm going to kick his butt," said Amanda Godwan before her 16-year-old son, Kysa, was brought off the mountain.

Two hikers stranded on a cliff Wednesday night in Little Cottonwood Canyon got off the mountain safely Thursday thanks to search and rescue crews from the Unified Police Department.

Kysa Godwan and Stephen Barrett, 17, left their homes about noon on Wednesday to go hiking in the Coalpit Gulch area. They only expected to be gone about two hours. But as they were coming down, they got off the trail and soon found themselves in a technically very difficult area.

"Turned out we got into some bad stuff," Barrett said. "It was a complete nightmare, and we were slipping and got stranded."

At one point, Barrett said he slipped and slid headfirst for about 15 to 20 feet off a ledge that he was trying to climb down. He ended up grabbing several branches from a tree, preventing him from falling another 200 to 400 feet.

"My friend instantly thinks I died," he said.

Kysa stayed on the ledge above, called 911 and told officials they were stuck.

"No ropes, no climbing gear, so they found themselves where they couldn't move up and they couldn't move further down without proper gear," said Unified Police Lt. Steve Shreeve.

Rescue crews received a 911 call from the boys about 7 p.m. By the time they were able to reach the area where the boys were and make voice contact, it was too dark to attempt to get them off the cliff, Shreeve said.

Kathleen Barrett said by 10:30 p.m. she was starting to worry about where her son was, and by 1 a.m. Thursday was in a panic. When she called 911, they told her that her son was probably one of the boys stuck on the mountain.

At 2 a.m., Amanda Godwan said she received a knock at her door from an officer telling her what was happening.

"I thought he was in bed," she said. "He didn't tell where he was hiking, which is what we're going to discuss (when he gets home)."

The worried family members gathered at the command post in Little Cottonwood Canyon. By 12:45 p.m. Thursday, search and rescue crews had gotten both boys off the mountain.

"It looks pretty straight up to me. I don't know what on that mountain says, 'climb me,'" Amanda Godwan said.

"I don't think he has any respect for the danger that is here," Kathleen Barrett commented about her son.

Although there were tears of joy for parents when their sons were brought down, each boy also got a stern lecture, starting with UPD. An officer was overheard telling one of the boys, "You didn't know what you were doing and that was the problem. And you got lucky."

Stephan Barrett said he only had a couple of candy bars with him when he left the house.

His mother said she was worried for both her son and the rescuers who were with him all night. Kathleen Barrett said she hoped her son had learned a lesson.

"It's kind of like he has no fear, but let's hope he has the fear of God in him through this experience," she said. "If he doesn't understand (what everyone just went through) then he deserves to have his car taken."

Stephen Barrett said what he learned from the experience was to value life more.

"One minute you can be doing something and the next slipping to your death," he said.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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