A Hiker Who Was Presumed Missing Didn't Pick Up Rescue Calls Because They Didn't Recognize The Number
A hiker in Colorado, who was lost for 24 hours, ignored rescuers' phone calls because "they didn’t recognize the number," authorities said last week.
The hiker was reported overdue at about 8 p.m. on Oct. 18, according to a statement from Lake County Search and Rescue. The person who called said the hiker started at Mount Elbert from the South Trailhead at 9 a.m. and had not returned.
Lake County Search and Rescue searched multiple areas for the hiker, but could not find the person. "Multiple attempts to contact the subject via their cell phone were unsuccessful," the statement said.
The hiker returned home on Oct. 19, more than 24 hours after beginning their hike. The person was not identified.
"The subject stated they’d lost the trail around nightfall and spent the night searching for the trail, and once on the trail, bounced around onto different trails trying to locate the proper trailhead, finally reaching their car the next morning," said the Lake County statement. "They had no idea that SAR was out looking for them."
"One notable take-away is that the subject ignored repeated phone calls from us because they didn’t recognize the number," the statement continued. "If you’re overdue according to your itinerary, and you start getting repeated calls from an unknown number, please answer the phone; it may be a SAR team trying to confirm you’re safe!"
The statement on Facebook garnered more than a hundred comments, many critical of the hiker.
But Lake County Search and Rescue came to the hikers defense.
"Please remember that what seems like common sense in hindsight is not obvious to a subject in the moment when they are lost and panicking," it said in a comment. "In Colorado, most folks who spend time outdoors have a good understanding of the SAR infrastructure that is there to help them, but this is not the case nationwide. Please keep your comments respectful."
In the wake of the Gabby Petito murder, there's an elevated awareness of the dangers of being outdoorsy.
I've gone "hiking" a couple of times, but I feel like walking through the woods to illegally smoke marijuana with my friends isn't exactly in the same ballpark as taking on a mountain. I'm not gonna attempt to get into the dos and don'ts of hiker etiquette because that's not why I created this publication six calendar years ago, although even I know that you're supposed to check in with people to let them know you're still alive. That's why Eddie Vedder wrote the song.
What I do have is plenty of experience with phone calls. I used to answer calls nonstop when I was slinging pizzas during college (and also two years after I graduated). Growing up, both of my divorced parents had landlines in their homes, and one of them even let me answer the phone since they weren't whipped. For the last 15 years, I've had a cell phone, and I have to say, I see where this hiker is coming from.
There isn't much specific detail regarding the "lost" hiker, but I'm going to take a stab and guess this person is somewhere between 22-39 years old because if you're any older, you remember life pre-caller ID and aren't afraid to pick up the phone. The same cannot be said for my anxiety-ridden Millenial brothers, sisters, and theys.
There's plenty of reasons to blame for my generation being too anxious and nervous to pick up unknown calls. What good has ever come from an unknown phone number by someone not expecting to get selected in the NFL/NBA Draft? The whole "don't pick up calls from numbers you don't know" thing that got drilled into my head at an early age comes to mind. Times have changed, and cold-calling is now considered rude. You should at least send a text first. As I've gotten older and learned about telemarketers, time shares and scams trying to offer me an extended warranty on my 15-year-old car, I've become even more apprehensive about picking up unknown numbers. We all know the deal by this point; if you don't know the number, let it go to voicemail, and if it's essential information, the person will leave a message after the beep explaining why they contacted you.
According to Facebook, the search and rescue team did attempt to leave a voicemail which completely kills my "how was this person supposed to know something is wrong?" angle.
But at the same time, what does it mean to attempt a voicemail? You either do or don't. Actually that's not true because there's plenty of people who haven't set their VM up or have a full inbox. That's how you write yourself through a take!
There's no harm in being extra cautious and giving a friendly reminder to check-in for the sanctity of people who care about you, but IMO this article is getting a little too much attention.
Is this actual news, or are you just trying to get clicks from those who wanna hate on people who don't give unknown numbers the time of day like we're the weird ones?
I get that the Post covered it, but does NBC or Fox News need to weigh in on this? Aren't they (the latter) too busy spreading propaganda to grandparents and the uneducated to cover a human interest story?
To me, this seems like a simple mistake that does not need coverage from the entire country. Plus, if someone is hiking in Colorado, there's like a 63% chance they're on some sort of psychedelic. Maybe this person was simply trying to vibe? In short, pick up the phone if you're in a situation where people might be worried that you're no longer alive. Problem solved.