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Lost hiker ignores rescue calls because they ‘didn’t recognize the number’

Mount Elbert is Colorado’s highest peak, with an elevation of 14,443 feet.
Mount Elbert is Colorado’s highest peak, with an elevation of 14,443 feet.(Nathan Wasylewski // Canva)
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 10:31 AM CDT
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LEADVILLE, Colo. (Gray News) – Search and rescue officials issued a reminder to hikers to answer their phones while out on a trail.

Lake County Search and Rescue (LCSR) teams were recently called out for an overdue hiker on Mount Elbert.

According to a Facebook post by LCSR, a hiker went out at 9 a.m. on Oct. 18 and had not yet returned by 8 p.m.

LCSR said several calls to the hiker were repeatedly ignored 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 search and rescue team trying to confirm you’re safe,” LCSR said in a Facebook post.

A rescue team was deployed at 10 p.m. to search Mount Elbert but could not find the hiker and left around 3 a.m. the next day.

Another team began searching again in a new area around 7 a.m. About 9:30 a.m., the person who called to report the hiker missing alerted LCSR the person had returned to their lodge.

The hiker told LCSR they had lost the trail around nightfall and spent the night searching for the trail.

Eventually, the hiker was able to find the proper trailhead and reach their car, almost 24 hours after the hike began.

LCSR said the hiker had no idea a rescue team was looking for them.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Mount Elbert is Colorado’s highest peak, with an elevation of 14,443 feet.

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