Haines woman and father from Florida spend night lost on mountain

casey.grove@adn.comAugust 14, 2013 

A Haines woman and her father who spent Monday night lost on Mount Ripinsky were rescued by volunteers and a Coast Guard helicopter crew Tuesday, according to Alaska State Troopers.

The woman, 44-year-old Kelly Williamson, called a family member about 8:30 p.m. Monday from the 3,563-foot mountain, troopers said in a written statement. Williamson was with her father, 67-year-old Florida resident John Hamilton, and the pair had become lost while descending from the summit in the dark, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said.

Weather at a Haines observation station recorded temperatures in the 60s and 70s, with clear skies.

The hikers decided to stay the night and did not request a rescue, Ipsen said. But at about 5 a.m. Tuesday, Williamson called troopers saying her father was too weak to make it very far on his own, troopers said.

"They weren't prepared for spending the night out, and they didn't have enough food, so they were pretty worn out," Ipsen said.

A volunteer group from Haines hiked up Mount Ripinsky looking for Williamson and Hamilton and summited the mountain about 7:40 a.m., having not found the hikers, troopers said. A pilot flew over and spotted Williamson and Hamilton about three hours later and guided the rescuers to them, troopers said.

The Coast Guard sent a helicopter from Sitka, and its crew hoisted Hamilton and Williamson on board and delivered them to Haines, Ipsen said.

"They were not injured. They just needed some food, some water and some rest," Ipsen said.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.