Colorado hiker wearing only a cotton hoodie is rescued after hours in a severe snowstorm

A hiker wearing only a cotton hoodie was found “alive but very hypothermic” after spending seven hours in a severe snowstorm without food or water in the Colorado Rockies, officials said.

The hiker, whose name and age were not released, was trying to summit a 13,000-foot ridge near Mount Princeton on Wednesday when dangerous weather moved in, Chafee County Search and Rescue North said in a statement posted the agency’s Facebook page. The “unprepared” hiker had no way to warm themselves, according to the statement.

“With darkness approaching and hypothermia setting in the individual decided, rather than take the same way down, the best plan was to bail down an avalanche chute to try to get to a road,” officials said.

The hiker had a phone, but authorities could not obtain GPS information from it after learning of the situation about 7 p.m., according to the statement. A 25-person team was sent out, knowing only that the hiker was in an avalanche chute east of Cottonwood Lake.

The search and rescue team descends with a distressed hiker.Chaffee County Search and Rescue North

The team spotted what appeared to be footprints in around 6 to 8 inches of snow and followed them until they came upon what they thought was “an unusual looking rock” at 2 a.m., according to the statement.

“Upon further investigation it was determined it was not a rock but the subject sitting upright in a fetal position covered in snow,” officials said.

The team spent three hours warming up the hiker before getting them down a steep gully at 5 a.m. Ropes were used to lower the hiker one section at a time before they told the rescue team that they could help. The hiker walked the remaining distance to an ambulance waiting to evaluate them at 7 a.m.

Photos of the 12-hour rescue operation were posted on Facebook showing the hiker wrapped up in plastic for heat conservation while being pulled down the mountain on a sledge.

The news comes just a month after another hiker vanished in the Rocky Mountains. Chad Pallansch, 49, of Fort Collins, Colorado, was last heard from on Sept. 27, when a text message indicated he was almost to the summit of Mount Alice in Rocky Mountain National Park.

In July, Colorado authorities found the decomposed bodies of threehikers that may have been missing since the winter.

In the Facebook post about last week’s incident, the Chafee County Search and Rescue North team included a list of “10 Essentials” that people should bring to help them endure minor injuries, sudden weather changes or unexpected delays. The National Park Service, which compiled the list, recommends packing navigational tools, first aid, food and water to assist in emergency situations.

“While you may not plan to be out in inclement weather the 10 essentials are essential in helping to keep you alive,” the team said in the post.

Leave a Comment