Paige Blankenbuehler
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September 8, 2012
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Missing hiker recovered near Mount Massive

A male hiker from Texas spent nearly 48 hours lost and alone on Mount Massive near Leadville before returning to his camp Tuesday "near death, dehydrated and incoherent," according to Mike McHargue, Lake County emergency manager.

"We were extremely concerned," McHargue said. "The terrain on Mount Massive is very rugged and this men had been lost for quite some time veering off course."

A group of five men, all between the ages of 35-40, began their trek Monday morning through the Hagerman Pass route, navigating through an extremely rough area. By the time three men made their way down the mountain back to the base camp, two men from the party were missing.

Around 9 a.m. Tuesday, one of the two missing men found his way back to the camp, with the rest of his party describing him "as very dehydrated, cold and not very coherent," according to McHargue.

"We began searching for the two men around 9 a.m. Tuesday morning and then we heard that one of the two men returned to camp in bad condition," McHargue said. "We were extremely concerned for the remaining missing hiker and called in helicopter assistance and had crews on foot as well scanning the area."

Information provided by the other hikers in the party led Lake County Emergency Management crews to a very rugged portion of the mountain above treeline were it was likely the other hiker had veered off course.

"While we were searching that area, we found foot prints that were leading to a very dangerous part of the mountain," McHargue said. "We feared that he had tumbled or fallen down into a crevasse or off of one of the steep canyons."

At 8 Tuesday night, emergency teams received notification that the hiker had "staggered down to Hagerman Road, where someone driving gave him a ride back to the camp," McHargue said.

"We were searching above treeline for the hiker but he had already made his way down below us," McHargue said. "We're just glad that he was able to find his way down."

Upon returning to camp, the other hikers helped hydrate the missing hiker and reportedly returned home to Texas the following day, according to McHargue.

The names of the hikers are not being released at this time.


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The Summit Daily Updated Sep 10, 2012 12:29AM Published Sep 8, 2012 09:05PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.