Lost Hiker at Mt. Charleston

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Last Thursday, Mountain Rescue volunteers were called upon to help with the search of a lost hiker at Mt. Charleston. The hiker had ventured to the area with his dog on Wednesday with the intent of spending the night and heading back home on Thursday. However, on Thursday morning, he woke to a large accumulation of snow that had fallen during the night. Because of the storms that had rolled in and a large amount of snowfall, the hiker was unable to find the trail and chose to call for help.

In this case, it wasn't a cell phone that helped the hiker. He was carrying a device that not only communicated a gps location, but also had the ability to send messages. On Thursday, he sent his first message asking for help.

As volunteers and officer headed to the area on Thursday afternoon, they were met with very extreme weather conditions, including high winds and heavy amounts of snow. The team was unable to utilize the Unit's helicopters as a result and resorted to a plan to hike in by foot.

Just as the sun began to set, the hiker sent out a message saying that he was ok and that he and his dog were prepared to spend another night on the mountain seeing as though they had the appropriate gear to do so. Instead of sending rescue teams out in the precarious environment, it was decided that rescue operations would cease for the day and resume on Friday.

On Friday, LVMPDSAR was able to locate the stranded hiker and extract both he and his dog by helicopter. The hiker was met by his family at the SAR hangar. No injuries were reported.

Rescue teams were able to access the trail head by vehicle, but the extreme weather conditions prevented the team from accessing the hiker by helicopter.

Volunteers and officers searching for the hiker on foot.