Grand County Drew Lancaster, 24, of Denver, went for an afternoon hike May 8 on the top of Berthoud Pass not knowing he would require a toboggan rescue within a few hours.
Lancaster, who was wearing tennis shoes and traveling alone, got turned around and somehow ended up hiking down Seven Mile Trail toward Winter Park. After hiking for several hours, he was tired and thirsty, his feet were soaking wet from post-holing through snow. He tried to climb up a slope to the highway but twisted his ankle and returned to the valley floor.
Lancaster call 911 on his smartphone. The call was lost, but he still was able to communicate through text messages with Sgt. Neil McQuarie. When Grand County Search and Rescue was paged at 4 p.m., rescuers knew Lancaster was somewhere near Berthoud Pass, that he could see the highway above him and that he was not able to walk out on his own.
By using his cell phone compass application, Lancaster was able to give a bearing from School of Mines Peak. His location was further pinpointed when Sgt. McQuarie drove along U.S. Highway 40 with his siren on. When the siren was the loudest, Lancaster texted the mission leader. McQuarie pulled over and could see Lancaster about 500 feet below him in a meadow, down a steep scree- and snow-covered slope.
Seven Search and Rescue members descended the slope from the highway with a rescue litter and first aid supplies.
After reaching Lancaster, who was starting to get cold, the team supplied dry clothing and heat packs and treated his injured ankle. Lancaster was put in the litter and pulled about a mile to the bottom of Seven Mile Trail, where he was treated and released by emergency responders.