Phoenix police say the unidentified family, reportedly from Glenview, Ill., started out on the east approach to Camelback Mountain around 10:30 am Thursday. The mother soon turned back but the boys kept going and eventually came off the Cholla Trail near the top
"They were hot," said Capt. Bobby Dubnow of the Phoenix Fire Department. "They were tired and they were definitely in a bad spot."
The hikers ended up on steep and rocky terrain. The father called 911 on his cellphone. They had water but with temperatures spiking to 90 degrees with the midday sun, they were in danger of dehydration. Given their position a helicopter was their only hope. The father was hoisted up first leaving a rescuer with the five-year-old boy.
"He was very brave," said Dubnow, "never really got scared and hopefully he'll have a great story to tell some of his buddies"
Neither father nor son was injured.
Phoenix Fire Department Capt. Tony Mure said his squad makes 160-180 rescues a year on this and surrounding peaks
"It is not uncommon to have people that are visiting from another state that underestimate their capabilities and how treacherous this mountain can be, how quickly you can get in danger," said Mure.
After an anxious reunion with mom, rescuers said the father appeared embarrassed and declined to speak about his ordeal.