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SOLO HIKER LEARNS PAINFUL LESSON
About Hiking Alone
August 06, 2009
(ALPINE LAKES WILDERNESS) -- A man who fell nearly 200 feet off a trail in a remote part of Washington State’s Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area Tuesday morning, spent ten painful hours on a bed of rocks on a ledge before being rescued.
The hiker, identified as 73-year-old James Nee of Santa Cruz, California was hiking alone in the back country when he stooped over to pick something up.
He said he started to feel lightheaded and then fell off the trail, according to Matthew Thyer, a nearby hiker from Ellensburg who heard Nee's cries for help and called King County Search and Rescue (SAR) on his cell phone.
Nee suffered several broken bones and other injuries to the head, hands, legs and spine.
In a blog entry about the experience Thyer wrote Wednesday that Nee’s “face and hands were covered in dried or drying blood, that both of his eyes were nearly swollen shut, and that he was unable or unwilling to move his right leg."
The Snoqualmie Fire Department got to Nee and treated him at the scene before a helicopter from the King County Sheriff's Office lifted him from the ledge.
Nee was flown to Harborview in Seattle shortly after midnight and was said to be in satisfactory condition.
Outdoor specialists, particularly search & rescue professionals, strongly caution against hiking or climbing solo due to the many life-threatening situations a solo climber or hiker may face when trouble arises.
Alone in the back country, a situation that might be nothing more than an annoyance or small problem with hiking partners along, can quickly turn into a life and death struggle for a solo hiker or climber.