Hikers Stranded On Colorado Peak Save Themselves When Rescuers Can’t Arrive

Two hikers stranded on one of the highest mountains in Colorado took matters into their own hands, scaling down the peak themselves when rescuers could not reach them.

The two Maine women became stranded on the 14,200-foot-long Longs Peak due to an ice storm, which prevented Park Service rescuers from reaching them with a helicopter.

The weather was part of the same storm system that broad heavy rains and widespread flooding across the state. In Boulder, were overflowing with water and statewide three people died as a result of the floods.

As the ice storm struck, 32-year-old Connie Yang and 33-year-old Suzanne Turell were stuck in whiteout conditions at close to 800 feet below the summit. The two had left the previous week for a backpacking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park, but seemed to be unprepared for what they would meet. The pair brought only summer hiking gear, including a flyweight tent.

When the weather took a turn for the worse, one of the stranded hikers reached out for help.

“We need help,” Turell said in a text her sister in New York City on Thursday morning. “No injuries. Iced over. Risk of hypothermia. On south ridge.”

With the roads blocked below, the hikers stranded above realized the would need to descend down the mountain without help.

“They came out on their own,” said Mark Pita, a ranger inside Rocky Mountain National Park. “They are in fine condition. They were not injured.”

The stranded hikers at least had a good knowledge of the outdoors and the capabilities of the gear they did have. They are both executives with NEMO Equipment Corp., a New Hampshire company that manufactures outdoor gear.

“I knew they’re smart and tough and had technical skills,” said David Turell, Suzanne’s brother. “The question was whether their gear was going to keep them dry and warm enough, for long enough.”

The stranded hikers also had a range of climbing experience, and take annual trips to remote areas from the Appalachian Trail to California.