A hiker in Colorado who tried to summit a 13,000-foot ridge near Mount Princeton on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2023, was rescued after spending hours in a severe snowstorm wearing only a cotton hoodie.
The hiker, whose name and gender were not disclosed, was unprepared for the weather conditions, having no food, water, or proper clothing. The hiker decided to descend an avalanche chute to reach a road, but got stranded for seven hours in the freezing cold.
The hiker had a phone, but rescuers could not get GPS coordinates because of the poor signal. A 25-person team from Chaffee County Search and Rescue North followed the hiker’s footprints in the snow and found them in a fetal position, covered in snow and very hypothermic.
“It was a very difficult rescue, very technical, very steep, very icy, very dangerous for our rescuers,” said Greg Foley, the president of the rescue group.
The team spent three hours warming up the hiker and then used ropes to lower them down the gully. The hiker was able to walk the remaining distance to an ambulance and was taken to a hospital.
The hiker was lucky to survive the ordeal, as the temperature was below freezing and the wind chill was around -20°F. Foley said the hiker was very confused and disoriented when they found them.
“This person was very lucky that they had a cell phone that had a little bit of battery left and that they were able to call us and give us some information,” Foley said.
Foley said the hiker was trying to reach the summit of Mount Princeton, a 14,197-foot peak in the Sawatch Range, but turned back when the weather worsened. The hiker then took a wrong turn and ended up in the avalanche chute, which was very steep and slippery.
“This is a very good reminder that the mountains are unforgiving and the weather can change very quickly and you need to be prepared,” Foley said.
He advised hikers to check the weather forecast, carry the 10 essentials, wear appropriate clothing, and have a GPS device or a personal locator beacon. He also said hikers should not go alone and should always tell someone where they are going and when they expect to return.
– Colorado hiker wearing only a cotton hoodie is rescued after hours in a severe snowstorm, NBC News, Nov. 13, 2023
– Colorado hiker rescued while wearing hoodie in snowstorm, FOX31 Denver, Nov. 13, 2023
– ‘Unprepared’ hiker rescued from Colorado mountain in snowstorm wearing ‘only a cotton hoodie’, MSN, Nov. 13, 2023
– Colorado hiker wearing hoodie rescued after getting stuck in snowstorm, MSN, Nov. 13, 2023