Hikers rescued from a cold mountain

After nearly nine hours in the dark
Dec. 11, 2013 @ 05:06 AM

Two hikers were rescued from the Sweetner Way mountains at 2:45 a.m. Monday after being gone about 15 hours.

They began their hike Sunday afternoon near the residence of one of the hikers. 

The hikers, in their mid-20's, were hiking in extremely rough terrain when it became dark and they didn't have flashlight, Lake Lure Fire Coordinator Ron Morgan said Tuesday.

Hikers called family members at about 6 p.m. to tell them where the were and they would not likely get off the mountain until Monday morning.

Morgan said the parents subsequently called 911 and the Chimney Rock Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the area at 7:45 p.m. 

Lake Lure firefighters also responded.

"It was raining and sleeting and they told their family no one would find them Sunday night," Morgan said. 

But at approximately 7:45 p.m. rescuers began the hike into the woods and at 8 p.m. the rescue teams made voice contact with the hikers.

"That's when it got tough," Morgan said. "They could holler back and forth and the guys started working their way up through the rocks. But the terrible, terrible terrain with leaves on the ground being slick, made it difficult."

"It was so foggy you couldn't see 30 feet in front of them," Morgan said.

Morgan said the closest the rescue teams could get to the hikers was about 50 feet and they were told the hikers had gotten a small fire started.

At about 12:07 a.m. Monday, the crew reached the hikers and they were fine.

Morgan said the toughest work in such a rescue is usually over at the point of finding the hikers, but the terrain was so bad it took 20 rescue members  two-and-a-half hours to get the hikers back to safety.

"We had some wet and cold people but they were all in good condition," Morgan said.