Rescue crews overcame challenging winter conditions on Vermont’s highest peak recently to rescue a hiker.
According to a report on the Stowe Mountain Rescue Facebook page, a hiker was tackling Mount Mansfield from the Underhill side on Sunday, February 26.
The hiker climbed Sunset Ridge and got close to the summit when blizzard conditions forced him to turn around. He reportedly intended to backtrack down Sunset Ridge, but he lost the trail in the blizzard and descended into Thunder Basin.
Noticing his cell phone battery was low and realizing he was lost, he decided to call 911 while he was still able to do so. Rescue personnel later said this gave them a fighting chance to get him out before dark.
The 911 call provided rescuers with his coordinates. They made the difficult hike over steep terrain and deep snow in snowshoes, crossing the ridge of Mount Mansfield in strong winds, and enduring a strenuous trek of Thunder Basin.
When they found the hiker, he was in a sheltered area and had already changed out of his wet baselayer into dry clothes. Rescuers said he was well equipped and making good decisions. The group descended, using fixed rope for several steep pitches.
The group was able to make it down safely just before dark.