By Jeff Todd
CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – It was a normal hike up, but the way down Grays Peak wasn’t what Bev Wedelstedt was expecting.
“I heard that snap, and I mean it is a snap you’ll never forget. I just went down. I collapsed,” she said.
Below the summit, miles from the trailhead, strangers came to Wedelstedt’s aid. Material was donated for a splint, and a doctor who happened to be on the trail checked on her.
She’d later get diagnosed with a torn ACL and meniscus, but two miles above sea level she only knew her knee wasn’t going to let her get down on her own.
“I’m just sitting there, and I’m freaking out because I’m sitting there thinking ‘How am I going to get down?’” she said.
“People are amazing people are absolutely amazing,” said Donald Adetoye, who was hiking with Wedelstedt. “Sure enough, he grabbed her, put her on his back and he started walking down and I said ‘Man, that actually seems like it’s not too bad.”
“This kid, he’s like 34 years old, he picks me up, flops me over his shoulders, and he is hustling down it,” Wedelstedt said.
Over the course of nearly three miles, nine strangers came together and took turns making sure Wedelstedt got down the mountain and closer to Alpine Rescue Team volunteers.
“They didn’t know each other. They didn’t know anybody and I’m like ‘Really?’ and they’re like, ‘We’re here to help you get down.’ I just I couldn’t believe it,” Wedelstedt said.
Eventually she was loaded into a litter and carried out by a search and rescue team.
“At that point I had realized we had gone 2.5 miles. And at that point I looked around at these guys that are still there. They’re shaking hands and high-fiving and I was like ‘Wow,’” said Adetoye. “This is humanity at its best. These guys really, really care.”
Wedelstedt is set to have surgery on her knee in a few weeks and wants to get back to hiking as soon as possible. But she’ll never forget the strangers who banded together to help her in her time of need.
“I’m just so happy and so amazed that there’s such good humanity out there that I’d even forgotten that was out there,” she said. “I need people to know there’s still good people out there.”
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.