A hiker wearing only a cotton hoodie was found “alive but severely hypothermic” after spending seven hours in a severe snowstorm without food or water in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, authorities said.
The hiker, whose name and age were not released, was trying to reach the top of a 13,000-foot ridge near Mount Princeton on Wednesday when dangerous weather hit, Chaffee County Search and Rescue North said in a statement on its website. Facebook page. The “unprepared” hiker had no way to stay warm, according to the release.
“With darkness approaching and hypothermia in the individual determined, rather than going down the same path, the best plan was to go down by parachute to try to reach a road,” authorities said.
The hiker had a phone, but authorities were unable to obtain GPS information after learning of the situation around 7 p.m., according to the release. A team of 25 was dispatched, knowing only that the hiker was in an avalanche chute east of Cottonwood Lake.
The team saw what appeared to be footprints in about 6 to 8 inches of snow and followed them until they found what they thought was “an unusual-looking rock” at 2 a.m., according to the release.
“Upon further investigation it was determined that it was not a rock but rather the subject sitting upright in a fetal position covered in snow,” authorities said.
The team spent three hours warming up the hiker before descending a steep ravine at 5 am. Ropes were used to lower the hiker down one section at a time before telling the rescue team they could help. The hiker walked the rest of the way to an ambulance that was waiting for him at 7 a.m.
Photos of the 12-hour rescue operation posted on Facebook showed the hiker wrapped in plastic to conserve heat as he was dragged down the mountain on a sled.
another hiker vanYoshed in the Rocky Mountains in September. Chad Pallansch, 49, of Fort Collins, Colorado, was last heard from on Sept. 27, when a text message indicated he was almost to the top of Mount Alice in Rocky Mountain National Park. .
In the Facebook post about the incident last week, the Chaffee County North Search and Rescue team included a list of “10 essential elements” that people should take to help them endure minor injuries, sudden weather changes, or unexpected delays. The National Park Service, which compiled the list, recommends packing navigation tools, first aid, food and water to help in emergencies.
“While you may not plan to be outside in inclement weather, the 10 essentials are essential to help you stay alive,” the team said in the post.