Archived Outdoors

Haywood SAR team completes snowy rescue mission

 Rescuers Nancy East, Kyle James, Graham Ebaugh, David Blackburn and Eric Sollie pause for a photo in the snowstorm. Rescuer David Walker is not pictured. Donated photo Rescuers Nancy East, Kyle James, Graham Ebaugh, David Blackburn and Eric Sollie pause for a photo in the snowstorm. Rescuer David Walker is not pictured. Donated photo

A hiker stranded along the Art Loeb Trail during the weekend snowstorm is now home safe thanks to a  successful effort from Haywood County Search and Rescue’s Mountain Rescue Team.

The hiker rescued near the Shining Rock Wilderness area of the trail on Sunday, Jan. 16, He had planned to hike and camp along the popular Art Loeb Trail. But as conditions worsened, he called for help getting back as he came to fear that weather conditions would be more than he was prepared to handle.

The call went out around 10:15 a.m. Sunday morning notifying rescue teams of a potentially stranded hiker. By 11:30 a.m. teams were heading up the mountain on the Blue Ridge Parkway toward their entry point at the Black Balsam trailhead. Road conditions were treacherous, with less than 100 feet of visibility and a wintry mix of sleet and snow falling.

The Blue Ridge Parkway has been closed to all but emergency vehicles for several days in anticipation of winter weather. This time of year the Parkway frequently ices over in spots that do not get much sunlight, making driving even on clear days potentially dangerous.

Upon arriving at the trailhead, the team traveled by 4WD truck for about 2 miles down Ivestor Gap road. When conditions became too difficulty to drive, they donned snowshoes and traveled on foot to reach the hiker.

The hiker was in good spirits despite the long night he just endured and was able to walk out on his own power alongside the team of rescuers.

Six members of Haywood County Search and Rescue’s highly-trained Mountain Rescue Team participated in the search. Mountain Rescue Team members receive intensive alpine rescue training specifically designed to challenge individuals to prepare them for winter rescue scenarios exactly like those they encountered on this mission.

Haywood County Search and Rescue’s roster has several members who are Mountain Search and Rescue trained. Team Leader Kyle James, who participated in this rescue, is also a mountain rescue instructor for the state of North Carolina.

The rescuers also received logistical support from Lake Logan Fire Department, Haywood County Emergency Services, Haywood County Emergency Management. Other area Mountain Search and Rescue teams were on standby as well, although they were not needed to complete the rescue.

Leave a comment

3 comments

  • As previous poster said “you can’t fix stupid”. Perp should be charged for rescue. Then what about the idiots who were out joyriding placing rescue & essential workers in danger?

    posted by R.H.

    Wednesday, 01/19/2022

  • It made The Washington Post.

    https://wapo.st/3tJd2HF

    posted by S. R.

    Wednesday, 01/19/2022

  • Unfortunately for the hiker, You can't fix stupid.

    posted by Linda O

    Monday, 01/17/2022

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