Man's 'Unusual Decision' in Storm Necessitates a Rescue

NC hiker who decided to go camping during severe winter weather is saved by team in snowshoes
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2022 7:51 AM CST
Snowshoeing Rescuers Save Man Who Went Camping in Storm
Photo of the snowshoeing rescuers.   (Facebook/Haywood County Search & Rescue)

As states in the South braced for severe winter weather over the weekend, one North Carolina man made what the News & Observer is charitably calling an "unusual decision": He packed up his camping gear and headed into Pisgah National Forest. Perhaps not surprisingly, the adventurous hiker ended up having to be rescued on Sunday, after Haywood County Search & Rescue authorities said weather conditions during the storm dubbed Izzy worsened and the man decided his outing was "more than he was prepared to handle," they noted on Facebook.

The rescue group first got a call around 10:15am, when temps were around 27 degrees, with "a wintry mix of sleet and snow falling" and poor visibility. Six members of the group's Mountain Rescue Team—who've gone through "intensive alpine rescue training"—piled into four-wheel-drive trucks and started to work their way into the forest to search along the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail, which the Washington Post notes is a tough trail to navigate "is considered difficult even in good weather;" parts of the trail aren't even marked.

Just two miles in, however, the bad weather forced the rescuers to abandon their vehicles, don snowshoes, and head out on foot to search for the hiker. They finally found him on the trail near the Shining Rock Wilderness area, luckily not in bad shape. "It sounds like mostly cold injuries, maybe some frostbite, that kind of thing," a spokesperson for Haywood County Emergency Services tells WLOS.

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The hiker was in "good spirits," despite his ordeal spent overnight in the storm, "and was able to walk out on his own power alongside the team of rescuers," search and rescue officials note in their post. They also offer a warning for other lovers of the great outdoors: "Please remember to check the weather forecast for the day of your hike as well as a few days beyond." (More North Carolina stories.)

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