Hiker gets lost in the dark 250 feet above ‘steep and loose’ trail, CO rescuers say

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A hiker was stranded in the dark 250 feet above the trail on a Colorado mountain, rescuers said.

The hiker got lost while trying to make his way down Mount Princeton on Friday, Sept. 23, the Chaffee County Search and Rescue North team said.

“He reported that he had gotten off route while descending from the saddle, and quickly became uncomfortable with the terrain,” rescuers said in a Sept. 24 news release. “Additionally, his headlamp was not providing enough light for him to safely move any further.”

Rescuers tracked the man’s GPS coordinates after he called 911 and determined he was about 250 feet above the hiking trail. He was stuck in “steep and loose terrain” about 12,600 feet up the mountain.

Officials told the man to stay in his location and wait for rescuers to arrive. Seven rescuers rushed to help the hiker.

“After approximately 2 hours, one of our field team members was able to reach the subject’s position,” rescuers said. “The subject was assisted down the very steep terrain back to the trail, where the rest of the field team was waiting.”

Rescuers gave the man a better headlamp and led him down the mountain to a search-and-rescue vehicle. Officials said the man wasn’t injured but was cold from dropping temperatures.

“We’d like to remind people that even the most straightforward fourteeners can become significantly more difficult in the dark, especially without a good light,” rescuers said. “Routefinding certainly becomes more difficult.”

The Mount Princeton Trail is a 7-mile out-and-back trail near Nathrop, about 130 miles south of Denver. It’s a challenging route that takes over 5 hours to complete, according to popular hiking website AllTrails.

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