LAKE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Two hikers were rescued early Sunday morning by a Lake County, Colorado Search and Rescue (LCSAR) volunteer team and a Chaffee County Search and Rescue (CCSAR) team after going off trail on Mt. Elbert.
Three LCSAR officials were called to locate the hikers at approximately 6 p.m. on Saturday. The team members made contact with the hikers around midnight. They were in white-out, snowy conditions at about 12,800 feet, according to CCSAR.
“These gentlemen were lucky enough to have cell service the entire time and we were able to contact them regularly,” LCSAR volunteer and Lake County Office of Emergency Management deputy Josh Adamson said. “Stuck on a pretty steep face and they couldn’t move. Definitely a risky evening for us to even be out there.”
LCSAR led the hikers back to the trail and about 11:30 p.m., CCSAR was deployed to assist. Five members joined to guide the hikers back down to the trailhead.
Around 5 a.m., they were attended to by emergency medical staff waiting for them.
“They left at noon, which is a huge no-no for any mountaineering,” Adamson said. “They had inadequate footwear, so they had tennis shoes. They were wearing wool socks. One of them was in jeans. It could have been disastrous for them.”
Officials posted warnings on the LCSAR and CCSAR Facebook pages for anyone planning a backcountry excursion to check weather reports and always pack the essentials.
“It could have been disastrous for them. I will say their odds of survival without us showing up were pretty low,” Adamson said. “Sometimes we ask people to kind of consider, we are putting ourselves at risk to help you and your situation that you put yourself in.”