Chaffee County Search and Rescue North assisted a woman and her dog who became lost on Mount Princeton Friday night.
As darkness fell, the woman said she became unsure of how to make her way back to the trail, so she called the rescue group, which responds to calls for backcountry assistance in the northern part of Chaffee County.
Rescuers guided the woman back to the trail by speaking over the phone and through text messages.
She had difficulty descending to the trailhead, however, so a team of six Search and Rescue members was dispatched to assist her. According to a press release from Chaffee County Search and Rescue North, the team made contact with the woman and her dog shortly after midnight.
The team evaluated the woman, and, Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said she did not require going to the hospital.
Spezze said nighttime search and rescue missions in Chaffee County’s backcountry are normal.
However, the release from Search and Rescue North said the incident Friday night is part of an atypical trend in rescues during the past 3 weeks.
Since Nov. 18, Search and Rescue North “has had four late-night pages due to incidents on our local fourteeners,” the release stated. “Historically this is not typical for CCSAR-N this time of year; it might mean more people are normalizing fourteener hikes in winter conditions.”
Search and Rescue officials said hikers should be aware of the early winter darkness, that temperatures can drop severely at night and that Search and Rescue may not be able to respond till morning.