Saturday, May 18, 2024

Overdue hikers rescued near Leavenworth

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LEAVENWORTH - Two female hikers from out-of-state were rescued on Monday afternoon after becoming overdue in the Enchantments area near Leavenworth.

Chelan County Sheriff Mike Morrison reported that a 31-year-old woman from Utah and a 35-year-old woman from California started their hike on Friday at the Snow Lakes Trailhead, with plans to exit at the Bridge Creek parking area on Sunday.

However, the hikers ran into trouble and sent an InReach message to a friend at 9 pm Sunday night, stating they were stuck and would need to spend an additional night on the trail near Tranquil Lake, halfway through the 24-mile route. The friend alerted authorities after the pair failed to exit on schedule.

On Monday, a deputy located the hikers' vehicle at the Bridge Creek lot around 3 pm. The Chelan County Sheriff's Air Support Unit was dispatched and spotted the stranded women around 4:45 pm about 100 yards downhill from Colchuck Lake, still 8-10 miles from the parking area.

With the hikers unprepared for another night outdoors in late winter conditions, the aircrew landed nearby and flew them out to the Bridge Creek trailhead parking lot. Chelan County Mountain Rescue volunteers were on standby, but they were not required to assist.

"The Enchantments through hike is approximately 24 miles this time of year, and although it is warming up in the lower elevations, it is still very much winter through most of the hike," Sheriff Morrison stated. "It is important to know your limitations and prepare for unexpected delays."

The rescue highlights the risks of ambitious hikes in volatile shoulder seasons and the importance of proper planning and gear for changing mountain conditions. Both hikers were uninjured in the incident.

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