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Missing hiker ignored calls from rescuers because it was an unknown number

By David Williams, CNN

A Colorado rescue team has some simple advice for lost hikers or anyone else who might find themselves stranded in the mountains — answer your phone.

Lake County Search and Rescue says it got a report last week that a hiker hadn’t returned from a hike on Mount Elbert. The hiker had set out at 9 a.m. on October 18 and wasn’t back at 8 p.m., LCSAR said in a post on its Facebook page.

Rescuers tried to call the person’s cell phone multiple times, but weren’t able to reach them.

Five LCSAR team members looked for the hiker in areas where people tend to get lost, but called off the search at 3 a.m. A three-person search team checked another area at 7 a.m.

They got a call at about 9:30 a.m. that the hiker, who was not identified, had returned to where they were staying.

The hiker had no idea that rescuers were looking for them, the post said.

“One notable take-away is that the subject ignored repeated phone calls from us because they didn’t recognize the number,” LCSAR wrote. “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!”

Mount Elbert is about 125 miles southwest of Denver and is the highest peak in Colorado with an elevation of 14,433 feet. It’s a popular spot for hikers and is said to be a relatively easy climb.

LCSAR said that this hiker lost the trail around nightfall and walked through the night trying to find it. Once back on the trail, the hiker had to check several trailheads before they found the one where they’d parked their vehicle.

It warns that snow can obscure the trail once you get above the treeline and that hikers can’t count on following their tracks back down the mountain because the wind can blow their footprints away.

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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