Four persons, three men and a woman and their two dogs, were rescued Sunday afternoon after spending Saturday night at the chalet above the Mount Princeton trailhead. The four, all inexperienced hikers inadequately equipped for a winter hike, began their descent from the chalet on the Mount Princeton trail on Sunday but discovered that a minor a minor snow slide had partially obstructed the route. They returned to the chalet and called 911 for assistance shortly after noon.
Deputy Marty Johnson spoke with the stranded hikers by cell phone and instructed them to remain in place and to abandon their plan to try to hike west off the mountain, which would have put them either off a cliff or into far more dangerous avalanche country. They agreed to do follow his advice.
Search and rescue teams equipped for a winter rescue journeyed up the trail to assist the four hikers. Conditions on the route had become extremely dangerous and treacherous, with very high avalanche potential. Rescuers utilizing snow mobiles and a snow cat reached the chalet at about 4:45pm and successfully evacuated the four, reaching the safety of the trailhead about an hour and a half later. All were uninjured and in good health.
Sixteen search and rescue volunteers participated in the mission which lasted about five and a half hours.
Three of the rescued hikers are from Buena Vista. They were identified as John Buschmann, 28; Derek Howe, 26; and Byron Diamond, 25. The fourth, Brittany Nipert, age unknown, is a resident of Glendale, Colorado.