BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — A Texas man’s attempt at getting engaged on top of a mountain in Boulder County ended with the couple having to be rescued, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said.
Joshua Mason, 27, and his girlfriend, Katie Davis, 28, flew from Denton, Texas, to Denver on Friday, authorities said.
On Saturday, Mason took Davis on a hike from the Fourth of July Trailhead to Jasper Peak on the Continental Divide, northwest of Nederland.
Mason was hoping to find an “isolated scenic location” along the 8.2-mile hike that has an elevation gain of more than 3,000 feet to the nearly 13,000-foot summit, and he did.
“It’s tough terrain. Definitely backcountry conditions,” hiker Dawn Sandberg said.
Mason proposed to Davis and she accepted the surprise proposal. But then things took a turn.
Because the couple did not leave the trailhead until about noon and there is no identifiable trail to Jasper Peak, the couple got lost when it started to get dark.
“As it started getting dark, there’s no trail to see. It’s not clearly marked,” Boulder County Sheriff’s Office mountain deputy Dan Walter said.
Rescuers said the couple had little water and were not wearing warm clothes.
The two became disoriented and lost. It was close to midnight when a camper hiking in the area heard their screams.
He led them to a group of his friends who were camping at Diamond Lake, the sheriff’s office said.
According the authorities, the couple were showing signs of altitude sickness as well as severe dehydration when they were rescued by the man.
The campers provided them water, food and shelter in a tent where they were able to get warm.
“They had come down a ridge line and cliffed out. They came to a cliff and couldn’t go any further and were yelling for help. By the grace of God, (the camper) happened to be hiking by where he could hear them,” Walter said.
Because of the couple’s conditions, one of the campers hiked down to her vehicle in the middle of the night to drive to Nederland to call 911.
Rescue crews reached the couple about 4:30 a.m. and helped them walk down to the trailhead, assisted by Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, along with Nederland Fire Protection and Boulder County sheriff’s deputies.
“He determined that Mason and Davis needed to move to a lower altitude immediately,” the sheriff’s office said. “By that point they had recovered enough that they were both able to walk down to the trailhead, assisted by Rocky Mountain Rescue Group personnel.”
They arrived at the trailhead about 6:30 a.m.
“Mason acknowledged that he did not allow enough time to complete the hike before dark, and they did not carry enough water or food,” the sheriff’s office said.
The engagement is still on despite the ordeal.
When setting out on a hike, experts say be prepared. Plan to reach the summit early. Carry a flashlight, and matches or something else to start a fire. Have jackets and pack extra layers, food and water.