Eagle River dad, sons rescued from Crow Pass trail

Michelle Theriault Boots

An Alaska Air National Guard helicopter crew rescued an Eagle River father and his two sons from the Crow Pass Trail Saturday night, the Alaska State Troopers said.

Kathern Janes of Eagle River called troopers at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday to report that her husband and two sons had left Eagle River early that morning in an attempt to hike the 24-mile Crow Pass trail to Girdwood, according to troopers.

Janes told troopers they were expected to arrive in Girdwood around 7 p.m., said Maj. Candis Olmstead, a spokeswoman for the Alaska National Guard.

"Janes reported that her husband and children were not prepared to stay overnight and were not dressed for winter alpine conditions," a Trooper dispatch posted online said.

Troopers contacted the National Guard Rescue Coordination Center.

The Air National Guard squadrons usually charged with nighttime rescues were on "crew rest" after another mission in Western Alaska earlier in the day and couldn't fly, Olmstead said. So a LifeMed Alaska helicopter flew out to the still-snowy trail, which cuts through rugged terrain in the Chugach Mountains, to look, she said.

The LifeMed helicopter was unable to find the missing family.

By about 10 p.m. the Air National Guard crew was finished with a mandatory rest period and was able to launch a HH-60 Pave Hawk Helicopter to search for the hikers, according to Olmstead.

At about 12:30 a.m. on Sunday the helicopter spotted a bonfire and landed, she said.

Nicholas Janes, 39, John Janes, 11, and Austin Janes, 15, were found cold but uninjured about one mile from Eagle Glacier, which Olmstead said is about 15 miles into the hike.

They had no survival gear with them and were wearing jeans and tennis shoes with no hats or gloves when they were found, she said.

The three were taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center to be evaluated.

Olmstead said hikers should carry personal locator beacons, survival gear and gear for the weather when spending time in the backcountry.

"Be prepared to spend the night even if you don't think you'll need to," she said.

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at mtheriault@adn.com or 257-4344.