ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (CBS4) – A 19-year-old Canadian man says, “It was stupid and I’ll never do it again” when speaking of getting stuck on Longs Peak and having to be rescued.
Samuel Frappier of Quebec, Canada, was rescued during an elaborate attempt that included hikers on the ground and a helicopter. He and his friend had only planned a one-day hike that would last about eight hours. Instead his ordeal left him stranded on the mountain overnight.
“I climbed a mountain and from the top it shows a faster way,” said Frappier. “After maybe four times I feared death, I thought maybe the fifth time I would call someone.”
Frappier had been stuck on the east face of the 14er at an elevation of approximately 13,000 feet since Tuesday. He was rescued just before 6 p.m.
“Very steep slope. I had a little rock and last night I spend all night shivering on the small rock,” said Frappier. “All of my clothes were wet.”
Frappier seemed very talkative to CBS4 crews when he was released from the hospital.
Park officials said Samuel Frappier of Quebec was able to walk and talk when he was flown to a landing zone in the park, park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said.
Frappier was flown to a landing zone in the park and was taken to the hospital in Estes Park by ambulance.
Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said Frappier was ascending the mountain with a friend but they separated. He ended up getting stuck on Tuesday afternoon at a location of the mountain called Broadway Ledge.
“Going down at first it was going well, and then it became very, very steep,” said Frappier.
He also described that he feared for his life, “If I would have slipped one foot more I would have fallen to the my death. So I just stopped right there, but it’s so dangerous that’s why I say stupid.”
Frappier also described his choice of climbing gear as less than ideal.
“It was a very, very difficult climb in running shoes,” said Frappier. “I slept with not much equipment.”
“He’s perched in a horrible spot,” Patterson said.
Patterson said Frappier didn’t have climbing equipment with him and doesn’t have much climbing experience. She said he also hadn’t been planning to be on the mountain overnight.
A rescue team had been in contact with Frappier on his cellphone. Patterson said he’s lucky he was able to get cellphone service.
“The first time I called I said, ‘I’m stuck. I can’t go up, I can’t go down. I’m stuck here, I don’t know what to do.’ I was standing in snow, just as the snow falls off it was a long way down,” said Frappier. “It was a stupid idea.”
The rescue was described as a technical rescue with 28 team members and rescuers involved in the incident. They had to deal with a number of hazards including active ice and rock fall.
A short-haul helicopter capable of lowering a stretcher that was used to rescue climbers in Grand Teton National Park was brought in.
“The helicopter was trying to get near but it was so steep it couldn’t get near. It tried three times and I thought I was going to sleep another restless night and I looked for a spot for the helicopter to land and then I saw the rescuers,” said Frappier. “I met them at the helicopter spot and walked down.”
Frappier said when he met up with the rescuers, “I was extremely happy and relieved because I thought I was going to spend another night in the cold.”
He also talked to his family to tell them he was okay.
“They were worried for my life, of course,” said Frappier.
He had been communicating with them while he was stuck on the mountain.
“I didn’t have too much time to talk to them because I had a low battery and I couldn’t talk very long,” said Frappier. “I was talking to one person at a time and it finally wore out.”
Nearly 30 people were involved in the rescue that included deep snow and ice on many parts of the mountain that have been falling. Crews need temperatures to cool down and snow to harden to climb.
Frappier expressed his gratitude to the rescuers who risked their lives to save his.
“I’m lucky it ended well, very lucky,” said Frappier.
He said now he’s headed back home, “I’m going back to Quebec. I won’t have the choice to stop.”
After that group reached him, the other rescuers on the mountain were flown out as daylight permitted.
The mountain, visible from the Denver area, is a popular place to climb and can be scaled without any special equipment during the summer.
However, recent climbers have said winter conditions remained where park officials warn that mountaineering experience and the knowledge and use of specialized equipment is required.