Three lost hikers survived a frigid night on California’s Mount Baldy by making camp between rocks that sheltered them from 50 mph wind gusts as they awaited rescuers, officials said Tuesday.
The three hikers had run out of daylight on Bear Canyon Trail while attempting to summit the mountain on Sunday, the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team said. The trio then lost the trail at an elevation of 8,200 feet because of significant snowfall from a storm.
The hikers, however, were prepared and officials recognized the trio for “the many things they did right.”
The hikers had left their itinerary with relatives, who immediately notified authorities, the rescue team said. The trio also turned around instead of continuing their trek to the summit when conditions deteriorated.
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Since the hikers were equipped with a tent and sleeping bags, rescuers instructed them to shelter in place overnight until rescue personnel could make the 4-mile ascent to meet them.
One member of the rescue team directed the hikers to a marked location and stayed in contact with them throughout the night.
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The rescue team reached the hikers at around 1 p.m. the following day and found the trio had sheltered between rocks to block the 50-mph wind gusting overnight. Rescuers said the hikers had the proper gear and also carried a whistle, which proved key in locating them in the wilderness.
The hikers were checked medically before rescuers escorted them down the mountain. A second rescue crew met the group in the field and provided hot chocolate, tea and sandwiches before finishing their descent by 5 p.m.
Rescuers said that if the hikers had not made the correct preparations, the situation may have had a tragic ending.
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“We believe this preparation contributed directly to why these three hikers are alive and back home today,” the rescue agency said.
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