By Anica Padilla

(CBS4) — The weather changes quickly in Colorado — and Lake County Search and Rescue has some important advice for anyone heading out into the backcountry. They say it’s a mistake that could be a matter of life or death.

(credit: Lake County Search and Rescue)

“Our mission coordinators would tell you they wish they had a dime for every time a rescue subject’s cellphone died just after the 911 call,” officials in Lake County stated on Facebook.

That’s exactly what happened on Sunday, Nov. 28. At approximately 8 p.m., LCSAR was notified of two hikers in distress on Mount Massive.

“The hikers said they needed help, but unfortunately their phone died before any more information could be communicated.”
“A mission coordinator spent the night working with Colorado Search and Rescue Association coordinators to narrow down the subjects’ location via cellphone forensics, but because the subjects’ phones were dead, efforts in this area were met with only partial success.”
A full scale search was launched at dawn the next morning.

(credit: Lake County Search and Rescue)

Over 20 searchers from LCSAR, Chaffee County Search and Rescue North, and Summit County Rescue Group were on Mount Massive on Monday, while Flight For Life Colorado conducted aerial search.

(credit: Lake County Search and Rescue)

Both subjects were found in the Half Moon Lakes Basin cold, hungry, and thirsty but otherwise in good condition, around 11 p.m. on Monday. They spent 34 hours in the backcountry without shelter.
“… we are so glad that they’re now back home with their families!” search and rescue officials said.
They had some potentially life-saving advice for anyone heading out.
“You can preserve your battery in the backcountry by putting your phone in airplane mode and keeping it warm,” they advised. They also suggested carrying a power bank with your other survival gear.
The Summit County Rescue Group said it’s crucial to advise others of any plans to venture out.
“Just make sure that you tell somebody where it is that you’re going and what time you’re going to be out,” Charles Pitman, Mission Coordinator for the Summit County Rescue Group, told CBS4.

Regular backcountry users recommend the following resources:

– Avenza Maps
– Caltopo Maps

There are also inexpensive GPS applications you can download to your smartphone that work without cell signal and have maps for the specific areas you plan to hike.

RELATED: Colorado Search & Rescue Groups Warn Hikers Against Relying Solely On Your Cellphone After Hiker Ignores Calls

Anica Padilla