Unprepared and "painfully cold" hikers rescued from Utah mountain during fierce storm

Woman breathing on cold hands outdoors
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Two hikers became stranded on a mountain trail in Utah earlier this week, stuck on steep terrain in bitterly cold conditions, without the gear and preparation necessary to stay safe and warm.

The pair were attempting to summit Valentine Peak, which is a popular but challenging hike near Parowan, but weren't ready for the unpredictable spring weather. Unable to press on or double back, they realized they were in trouble and called for help at around 4pm on March 12.

A team of volunteers from Iron County Sheriff Search and Rescue (ICSSR) was dispatched, and started making their way up the trail at about 5pm. Along the way, the Sheriff's Deputy, Corporal Hilleger, managed to make contact with the pair and provide them with a coat and emergency blanket until the rescue team arrived.

Half an hour later, the team found Corporal Hilleger and the two hikers, and provided them with dry clothing, foot and hand warmers, and hiking gloves. According to a post shared by ICSSR on Facebook, "the female hiker's socks were drenched, and her feet were painfully cold." She had been wearing sneakers, which had become soaked, so the team gave her fresh socks and wrapped them in plastic to keep them dry.

Once the lost hikers were warm, the volunteers led them down, arriving at the trailhead parking lot at roughly 6:15pm.

"We want to remind everyone of the importance to have proper gear if you plan to recreate, especially during this time of year," said ICSSR. "The valley temps may be mild but when you get into the higher elevations, the weather can drastically change. We’re thankful the hikers called us sooner rather than later, so we could get them warmed and down before it got dark and much colder."

Before any expedition, make sure you're equipped with the hiking essentials including appropriate clothing and footwear, a first aid kit, navigational aids (including a map and compass), water and food, and a headtorch or flashlight with spare batteries. Always make sure you plan your route in advance, and check the weather forecast. Tell someone exactly where you're going, and when you expect to be back so they can call for help if you're not back on time.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.