UTAH COUNTY, Utah – A hiker was rescued after finding himself in treacherous conditions on Mount Timpanogos Sunday morning.
Cole Bernal was traveling through Utah. He left the Aspen Grove trailhead around 6:00 a.m. Sunday, planning to reach the summit of Mount Timpanogos. Being unfamiliar with the area, Bernal did not realize how much snow was still on the trail.
“After the first snowfield, I found the trail again, so I got cocky and thought I could find the trail every time,” Bernal said.
The next snowfield he came across, though, he ran into trouble.
“Next thing you know, I was just in open snow and no trail to be seen,” he said. “I realized that the incline I was coming up at, if I tried to go down, it was going to be a slip-slide off the cliff basically.”
Bernal still had cell service and was able to call for help. The Utah County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team hit the trail and found Bernal.
20 year old Texas man rescued by @UCSO SAR after he became stranded on an ice field left following an avalanche this past winter. Maybe not perfectly well prepared, but he did do important things right. https://t.co/nDnl0j7ZjYpic.twitter.com/qhGs8sgv61— Spencer Cannon (@SGTCannonPIO) June 16, 2019
Within a couple of hours, he was back at the trailhead.
Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said he expects the snow will catch a lot of people off-guard this year. People who are used to hiking trails like Mount Timpanogos by mid-June may not realize how much extra snow there is.
“It’s very likely that these kinds of things will happen throughout this summer. It’s also very likely that much of the snow that’s up here on and around the trail will be here until it snows again,” Cannon said.
He praised Bernal for taking the right steps when he realized he was in over his head. Bernal said it was a lesson he will carry with him.
“Not too discouraged. I think I’ve just got to be smarter about it next time, know the conditions, more experience,” he said.