Lost Horseman on Cell Phone

April 11, 2003
Black Mountain Trail

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By William Carlson

As usual I was out in the middle of nowhere at least one hour from my rescue gear when I got the call. I quickly told my friend that we had to start hiking back from our climbing trip. About one hour later I got to my house and put together all of my gear and through it into the car.

Three hours after I received the call I arrived at the Black Mountain Trail Head and started asking what was going on. Jim Fairchild briefed me and said we have a horseback rider lost up in the high country. If what the man was telling us over the cell phone was right he was probably right at the trail junction of Marion Mountain Trail and the Deer Springs Trail. We all got in our cars and regrouped at the Seven Pines trail head.

Around 10:30pm a team of four including myself, Kirk Cloyd, Travis Henderson, and Brad Scott headed up the Seven Pines trail to search the area he was describing. We hiked at what one could consider a fast pace and gave some shouts every five minutes. At about 1:30 in the morning we began to encounter some snow and it became impossible to find the trail. Through some amount of skill and luck we managed to find a small impression in the snow that was the trail. Really it was hit and miss the rest of the way.

Around 3:30 we were all exhausted and knew we were close so we gave some more shouts and settled in for a few hours of sleep hoping to find the missing man in the morning.

Hey you guysyou need to get up and find him. That is what we woke up to at 7:00amand if any of you know, Glens voice is not the best thing to wake up to in the morning. We ate a few little snacks and began searching again. We wandered around for a few minutes and found what we thought was the trail. While Kirk, Travis, and Brad looked at a map I took a quick run up to a high point and gave a yell. To our amazement we got a response.

Over here is what we heard. Kirk yelled back and told the man to stay where you are we will come to you. I radioed to base and regrouped with the rest of the team and we headed up to where we heard the voice. After about five minutes we were to him and asked him how he was. He was ok but he wasnt sure about his horses. After a few minutes we were to his horses and we sat down and discussed what the plan was going to be.

We decided that we would hike the man and his horses out. We heated water for the horses and gave them food. Soon after Glen and Rick arrived and helped us get food and water to the horses. The horsemans name was Gary and he was glad to see us. He told us all about what had happened and how he ended up where he was. From everything we heard from Gary he had done everything right. He stayed put and didnt move around. He kept himself safe, and in the end we actually found him on the trail. It just goes to show that even when you do everything right things can still go wrong.

After we ate breakfast we began the hike back down the Deer Springs Trail. It was a great hike and the horses made good company. They like to follow the leader so no matter how fast I hiked they were right there nipping at my heals. Eventually we reached the parking lot and all regrouped and discussed the mission over lunch at La Casitas in Idywilld. Another success for the record books!

RMRU Members Present: William Carlson, Kirk Cloyd, Jim Fairchild, Terry Greenstein, Glenn Henderson, Travis Henderson, Rick Maschek, Brad Scott