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LEADVILLE, Colo. (KDVR) — Lake County Search and Rescue ventured out on an overdue hiker call on Mount Elbert, but they ran into some difficulty when the hiker kept rejecting their calls.

On Oct. 18, the reporting party told LCSAR that the hiker had begun ascending Mount Elbert’s South Trailhead at 9 a.m. and had not returned by 8 p.m. Five LCSAR members combed the trails through the night, but they were unsuccessful.

“The subject stated they’d lost the trail around nightfall and spent the night searching for the trail, and once on the trail, bounced around onto different trails trying to locate the proper trailhead, finally reaching their car the next morning, approximately 24 hours after they’d started their hike,” according to Lake County Search and Rescue.

The team attempted to call the hiker multiple times but was ignored because the hiker said they didn’t recognize the number. The hiker was unaware that search and rescue was out looking for them but thankfully returned to their lodging the following morning.

“If you’re overdue according to your itinerary, and you start getting repeated calls from an unknown number, please answer the phone; it may be a SAR team trying to confirm you’re safe!” said LCSAR in a Facebook post.

Tips for hiking Mount Elbert in October

LCSAR offered other reminders to hikers who are thinking of attempting Mount Elbert in October:

  • Trails are obscure above treeline due to snow
  • Snowy conditions will be present October through late June
  • Be prepared with proper gear
  • Don’t count on following ascent tracks to descend, wind may cover them