Listen. I really do not enjoy being on the phone. If I have a reason to not take a call, I am taking advantage of that reason nearly 100 percent of the time. So with that said, I really tried going into this story with an open mind. Honest, I did. But dear god, you fucking geek. I’m happy you found your way home, but come on, man. Even I would risk an air duct guy or a long winded friend with a new number in this situation.
At approximately 2000 on October 18th LCSAR was called out for an overdue hiker on Mount Elbert. The reporting party reported the subject had started hiking Mount Elbert from the South Trailhead at 0900 that morning, and had not returned by 2000 that evening. Multiple attempts to contact the subject via their cell phone were unsuccessful. 5 LCSAR members deployed at 2200 to search high probability areas on Mount Elbert, but did not locate the subject, and left the field at approximately 0300 on the 19th. At approximately 0700 on the 19th, a team of 3 LCSAR members began the search in a new area where hikers typically lose the trail. At approximately 0930 the reporting party reported the subject had returned to their place of lodging. All personnel were out of the field by 1000.
The subject stated they’d lost the trail around nightfall and spent the night searching for the trail, and once on the trail, bounced around onto different trails trying to locate the proper trailhead, finally reaching their car the next morning, approximately 24 hours after they’d started their hike. They had no idea that SAR was out looking for them.
One notable take-away is that the subject ignored repeated phone calls from us because they didn’t recognize the number. If you’re overdue according to your itinerary, and you start getting repeated calls from an unknown number, please answer the phone; it may be a SAR team trying to confirm you’re safe!