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Troopers: 'Very cold' lost teens rescued off Mount Juneau

Zaz Hollander

A helicopter and a pair of local volunteers helped rescue two teenagers who got lost hiking up Mount Juneau as temperatures dropped Sunday night.

The male teens, a 17-year-old from Juneau and a 16-year-old from Switzerland, called for help on a cell phone, Alaska State Troopers said. They were "not prepared for the cold weather, very cold and disoriented," according to an online update posted Monday morning. Temperatures were in the 20s at the time.

The 3,576-foot mountain sits right behind Juneau and is a popular though steep hiking destination in summer but a difficult trip in winter, with icy waterfalls and potential for avalanches.

Troopers responded at 6:30 p.m. and asked for assistance from Coastal Helicopters and Juneau Mountain Rescue due to terrain and falling temperatures, troopers said. Two rescuers got into a helicopter and took off to look for the hikers.

One of the rescuers, Pat Dryer, said the teens were off the trail on a ridge about halfway up the mountain when searchers spotted their headlamps.

"That definitely took many hours off the rescue," Dryer said.

The helicopter was able to land near the pair, and Dryer got out and helped them into it for the trip back to town, he said.

Troopers urged hikers and others recreating in the mountains to bring clothing and signal devices appropriate for high-altitude conditions, which can be drastically different from conditions at sea level.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Reach Zaz Hollander at zhollander@adn.com or 257-4317.


By ZAZ HOLLANDER
zhollander@adn.com