Hikers stranded on fourteener | AspenTimes.com

Hikers stranded on fourteener

Steve Lynn
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Vail Mountin Rescue Group member Dan Aguilar, left, receives help boarding a helicopter Monday to aid in the rescue of two men stranded on Mount of the Holy Cross. The helicopter took off and landed at the Holy Cross Ranger District station near Interstate 70 in Minturn. (Kristin Anderson/Vail Daily)

EAGLE COUNTY ” Two men who veered off a hiking trail were stranded in a gully on Mount of the Holy Cross Monday night, authorities said.

A helicopter flew rescuers to the 14,005-foot peak’s summit, where they were to rappel down to the men and decide how to bring them off the mountain, authorities said.

“It’s kind of up in the air whether they’re going to walk them out or fly them out,” said Deputy Greg Birely of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

Jeff Snapper, 28, and Adam Van Essen, 23, started their hike about 6 a.m. and called 911 on a cell phone about noon saying they were at a point where they could not descend or ascend the mountain, authorities said.

“It’s a technical climbing area that they are not experienced enough to get out of,” said Sgt. Greg Daly of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

The two step-brothers on vacation from Michigan were uninjured, authorities said. However, they are tired and unprepared for an overnight stay on the mountain, Daly said.

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Depending on weather conditions, authorities were considering having a Colorado Air National Guard helicopter fly the men off the mountain, having rescuers hike down the mountain with the men or having the men stay on the mountain overnight, he said.

The men were stranded in a rock gully in the southeast portion of the Angel Couloir after losing the Half Moon Trail that leads to the summit of the peak, authorities said.