Stranded hiker rescued during snow storm in North Carolina
HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. — A stranded hiker was rescued from a popular trail in North Carolina during a snowstorm Sunday, according to Allison Richmond with Haywood County Emergency Services.
Mountain Rescue Team members from Haywood County Search and Rescue rescued the hiker along the Art Loeb Trail near the Shining Rock Wilderness, Richmond said.
According to Richmond, a call went out around 10:15 a.m. notifying rescue teams of a potentially stranded hiker.
By 11:30 a.m. teams were heading up the mountain on the Blue Ridge Parkway toward their entry point at the Black Balsam trailhead, Richmond said.
According to Richmond, road conditions were treacherous with less than 100 feet of visibility and a wintry mix of sleet and snow falling.
The hiker had apparently planned to hike and camp along the popular Art Loeb Trail, but as conditions worsened, he made the call to ask for assistance in getting back, fearing that the weather conditions were more than he was prepared to handle, Richmond said.
According to Richmond, the Blue Ridge Parkway has been closed to all but emergency vehicles for several days in anticipation of winter weather.
This time of year the parkway frequently ices over in spots that do not get much sunlight, making driving, even on clear days, potentially dangerous, Richmond said.
According to Richmond, upon arriving at the trailhead, the team traveled by 4WD truck for about two miles down Ivestor Gap road, until conditions became too difficult. From there, they donned snowshoes and traveled on foot to get to the stranded hiker.
The hiker was in good spirits, despite the long night he just endured and was able to walk out on his own power alongside the team of rescuers, Richmond said.
According to Richmond, six members of Haywood County Search and Rescue’s highly-trained Mountain Rescue Team participated in the search.
Mountain Rescue Team members receive intensive alpine rescue training specifically designed to challenge individuals to prepare them for winter rescue scenarios exactly like those they encountered on this mission, Richmond said.
The rescuers also received logistical support from Lake Logan Fire Department, Haywood County Emergency Services, Haywood County Emergency Management.
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