Hiker tells how he survived being lost in the Uintas

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An Ohio man is talking about his experience of getting lost for two days in the High Uintas. John Youngerman split off from his hiking friends, and despite his preparation and experience, lost his way.

Youngerman is an experienced hiker. In fact, he's hiked in almost every state. But his experience wasn't enough to get him down from Kings Peak.

Hiker tells how he survived being lost in the Uintas

Youngerman reached Kings Peak, the highest point in Utah, but what he didn't realize then was that his ordeal was just beginning.

He realized he had made a mistake when he got three quarters of the way down. He said, "Somehow I didn't go all the way around, and I went into Painters Basin, which is the opposite direction."

Luckily, Youngerman was extremely prepared. He had enough food, good clothing, water and even a compass. "No matter how well you've planned, things can go wrong. It's imperative that people know to be well aware of the dangers when they start out," he said.

The first night the temperature dropped to approximately 30 degrees at the trailhead. He said, "I slept in a log the first night, sort of a log that situated away from the wind so that I could get in there, and then I put my shirt up over my and breathed into my chest to keep the body warm."

Hiker tells how he survived being lost in the Uintas

Search and rescue crews searched the area on Saturday from the ground and from the air. But it wasn't until Sunday that crews spotted him. He said that's finally when he knew he was headed in the right direction.

It was another close call the Summit County Sheriff's Office hopes others will listen to. "We want people to be safe. We want them to recreate. But we also want them to understand just how dangerous the Uintas can be, and they certainly have claimed lives in the past. Fortunately, in this instance that was not the case," said Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds.

Youngerman has one piece of advice for other hikers: A GPS is almost mandatory. That's the one thing he didn't have.

E-mail: corton@ksl.com

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Courtney Orton


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