Rescuers said the hiker was trying to summit a 13,000-foot ridge in Colorado
An "unprepared" hiker had to be rescued over the weekend while trying to summit a 13,000-foot ridge while wearing "only a cotton hoodie" during a Colorado snowstorm, officials said.
According to Chaffee County Search and Rescue North, the team received a report around 7 p.m. local time Saturday of a "hiker in distress who had bushwhacked" while trying to mount the summit north of Princeton Mountain earlier in the day.
"When inclement weather moved in the hiker found themself unprepared; out of water, with no food, wearing only a cotton hoodie and no way to warm themself," the agency said. "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."
The hiker had a phone, but rescue workers were unable to obtain GPS information, and the only thing the hiker could tell officials was that “they were in an avalanche chute east of Cottonwood Lake.”
"The subject was advised to keep moving in a downward direction," rescuers added. "Approximately 25 SAR members from CCSAR-N and CCSAR-S were deployed into the field to search for the subject during a severe snow storm."
The department said several avalanche chutes were "searched from the bottom up, with one searched from the top down due to steepness, deadfall land, and slippery conditions."
Around 12:42 a.m., rescuers descended "into the gully from the ridge, in approx. 6-8 inches of new snow located what appeared to be footprints," according to the rescue team. After following the footprints, they came across an "unusual looking rock" at about 2 a.m.
Eventually, rescuers realized that it was not a rock, but "the hiker sitting upright in the fetal position covered in snow," officials said. The hiker was alive but "very hypothermic."
"The teams spent approximately 3 hours warming the subject at their location prior to beginning the long, steep, arduous extraction over deadfall down the steep gully," the agency continued. The hiker was spotted at 2 a.m. and the extraction began at 5 a.m.
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Over an hour later, the hiker told "the teams they felt like they could assist with the rescue by walking." The hiker then walked out with assistance to an ambulance for evaluation by 7 a.m.
There has been no update on the hiker's condition following the rescue.
In the Facebook post, the Chaffee County Search and Rescue North team urged hikers to have the "10 essentials" on hand when embarking on a hike: hydration, nutrition, navigation, emergency shelter, extra layers, illumination, fire starter, first aid kit, sun protection and repair kit.
Additionally, the group advised investing in a GPS device with an SOS function, as cell coverage isn't available in many remote areas.
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