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Rocky Mountain National Park Searchers Locate Missing Hiker

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avatar Rocky Mountain National Park Searchers Locate Missing Hiker
October 28, 2011 06:50PM
Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Searchers Locate Missing Hiker

Park dispatch received a 911 call early on Wednesday morning from a 22-year-old man identifying himself as Andrew "Andy" Lund of Branson, Missouri. He was calling from his cell phone and thought he was somewhere above Lake Haiyaha (elevation 10,220 feet), where he was seeking shelter under a large boulder. Lund had hitchhiked to the park and was dropped off at the Bear Lake trailhead on Tuesday afternoon. Overnight temperatures on Tuesday were below 25 degrees and more than a foot of snow had fallen in the area by Wednesday morning. Lund seems to have been unprepared for the deep snow and winter conditions, but reported that he had a sleeping bag, tarp and whistle. He said that he was wet, cold and had no water, and that he'd intended to spend Tuesday night in the backcountry but did not get the required backcountry camping permit. Rangers spoke with him hourly on his cell phone throughout Wednesday, but were unable to reach him by phone after 3 p.m. Rangers also attempted to track the location of the cell phone, but Lund's phone evidently lacked the necessary features. A hasty search team reached the Lake Haiyaha area around midday Wednesday, with additional searchers joining them about three hours later. They searched the upper "Chaos Canyon" area west of Lake Haiyaha and attempted to establish contact using air horns and whistles. Chaos Canyon is appropriately named, known for very large boulder fields that make walking difficult. With over 18 inches of new snow in this area, conditions were challenging and hazardous. The Wednesday night wind chill was below zero. Search efforts resumed yesterday morning, with rangers joined by personnel from the Colorado Mountain School and Larimer County Search and Rescue. The search area was expanded to include Dream and Emerald Lakes. Around 10:30 a.m. yesterday, rangers made verbal contact with Lund, who proved to be above Emerald Lake in the Tyndall Glacier area - not above Lake Haiyaha as he initially told rangers. A search team reached him within a half hour. At the time of the report late yesterday, team members were determining the best way to help extricate him from the backcountry.
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