Winter weather in Flagstaff was too rough to rescue an injured hiker on Mount Elden Thursday night and he had to wait it out overnight until he could be flown off the mountain on Friday.
It was a difficult rescue for crews because of the weather and night began to fall. What made matters worse was the hiker wasn't able to call for help from Fat Man's Loop trail because his cell phone died.
"He went for a hike to kill some time, and he lost the trail and as he was kind of going up trying to find where the trail was, knowing the trail went up a little bit, he wounded up going through the bouldering section where it's big, big boulders and we kind of realized he was going way too high. He went to try and go back down and he clipped out where he can't get back down because it was too steep. So they start to go back up. That's when his foot got caught between two rocks and he broke his ankle," said Wesley Forbach with Flagstaff Fire.
Due to high winds, rescue teams and the hiker had to camp on the mountain overnight. Flagstaff Fire and the Coconino County Sheriff's Office eventually found the hiker at an 8,700 elevation who was hungry, dehydrated and cold.
"Being up that high with the winds, he probably could have frozen to death. I'm not sure what temperature it got down to that night, but it was cold enough that even though we had down jackets and sleeping bags and pads, it was still pretty cold. So if we had all those things and we were still a little chilly, I would imagine that it would have got cold enough for him to freeze to death," Forbach said.
Rescue crews say that the most important thing you can do before you head out on the trail is to make sure your phone is completely charged, have a map downloaded in case you get lost and make sure you have sufficient water.