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Another hiker finds religion in the wilds

Brief by Allen Best

Outdoors – January 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Yet another hiker got lost while descending 14,005-foot Mount of the Holy Cross in Eagle County. It happens at least once a year, often several, but so far without fatality — a miracle.

Among those miracle cases was that of a retired music teacher who in 1997 was on the thin border of life after spending eight days huddled among rocks above timberline.

The victim this time was a 23-year-old from Lee’s Summit, Mo., who had summited with his brother. On the way down, at about 13,000 feet, the pair got separated as a snowstorm was coming in.

He was only wearing jeans, tennis shoes, fleece and a rain jacket. He had water and an energy bar.

The Eagle County Sheriff’s Department told the Vail Daily that the man suffered some frostbite and was a little hypothermic from his two nights. About a foot of snow fell.

The path through the above-timberline talus is well trod, and some years ago was marked with an improved set of cairns, to better guide the uninitiated. Holy Cross being a formally designated wilderness, Day-glo tape and handrails are probably out of the question.