When do you make the SOS call?

🚨
My voice echoed throughout the gullies as I shouted for @sturgeon.dan – my hiking bud had been missing for 30min.
🌨
We were last together on Kit Carson, our attention on the clouds. They were unlike anything I’d seen, playful pillows hiding behind the summit. I saw another cluster in the distance. Were they closing in on us? I warned Dan that we had about 30min – whatever was coming, we would be in the eye of it.
πŸŒͺ
I paced the avenue as 1/2 blizzards dumped, debating on if I should go back to search for him. The snow was hitting from all directions & I lost vision. My heart pumped as a memory of my CapHill 1BD entered; Matt and I playing rummy in front of a fireplace. I could hear the fire cracking as my toes soaked through a 2nd set of socks. I could feel the purr of Chip as my fingers became numb from scrambling. I wanted so badly to be on the couch with them.

🚁
The 2nd blizzard hit & the reality of the situation settled in. Dan may not get off this mountain. If he is in need of help, rescue could take over 12hrs & the snow could cover him. Screw the fees, how can you put a price on someones life? My hands shook as I held down the SOS button on the Garmin InReach. Then watched the 20sec countdown commence.
πŸ†˜
Better to search for 1 person than 2. I marched across the ridge line, bullied by wind. It blocked all sound, except for the GPS device, which synced morbid beeps to my heartbeat. I constantly looked behind me for a silhouette. BREATHE. Finally saw a figure & broke down in tears. HE IS ALIVE! I quickly cancelled the call for emergency rescue.
πŸ—»
3/20 hikers summited this snowy class 3. The other guy began at 2am. 15mi post-holing over 14hrs.
Looking back I am not regretful nor wiser. We had the energy & skill to accomplish, but losing a hiker is unspeakable. A truly remarkable, memorable hike that left my bones rattled and mind full of gratitude.
🀯
πŸ·πŸΊπšŽπš›: Challenger + Kit Carson
π™΄πš•πšŽπšŸπšŠπšπš’πš˜πš—: 14,081’ + 14,165’
π™»πš˜πšŒπšŠπšπš’πš˜πš—: Westcliffe, CO
πšƒπ™·: Willow Creek
π™³πš’πšœπšπšŠπš—πšŒπšŽ: 15 miles
π™΄πš•πšŽπšŸπšŠπšπš’πš˜πš— π™ΆπšŠπš’πš—: 6,250’
π™²πš•πšŠπšœπšœ: ♦️♦️♦️