Two teens are alive after two days missing on Mount of the Holy Cross
November 23, 2016
EAGLE COUNTY — Two Colorado Springs teenagers were cold and tired but alive after spending two nights lost on Mount of the Holy Cross.
"We have two live finds!" said Dan Smith with Vail Mountain Rescue. "They were just very cold and a little bit worse for wear."
Tommy Hendricks, 18, and Matt Smith, 17, called family at 7 p.m. Monday to say they had summited the 14,012-foot summit, and were on their way down.
They did not return and were reported missing Tuesday when they were overdue, said Jessie Mosher, public information officer with the Eagle County Sheriff's Office.
Hendricks' phone died and texts sent to Smith weren't returned, Hendricks' mother, Peggy Hendricks, told the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Ground crews searched during Tuesday's storms, and three dozen searchers started again early Wednesday morning, joined by helicopters from three agencies: Colorado National Guard's HAATS crew, Flight for Life and Colorado Fire Prevention, Mosher said.
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Hendricks and Smith were flown off the mountain and by 3:30 p.m. were being checked out in an ambulance in Freedom Park in Edwards, where the helicopter took them.
They are both safe and in good health, Mosher said.
"It's a great Thanksgiving story," Smith said.
The pair left Colorado Springs on Sunday afternoon for Mount of the Holy Cross and camped overnight before summiting Monday.
Both of them have hiking and camping experience and were reasonably prepared with sleeping bags and food, Mosher said.
"I think any time that we have cold weather and storms and hikers who we haven't been in contact with we definitely take every action we can to find them as soon as possible," Mosher said.
Hendricks and Smith are students at Coronado High School in Colorado Springs. Their Facebook pages list Hendricks as a senior and Smith as a junior. Both were said to be experienced climbers who have summited several of Colorado's 14ers.
On Hendricks' Facebook page, "Adventures with Tommy Hendricks," he says "the mountains are like a second home to me and always have been, and always will be." He also writes that he's trying to become a sponsored rock climber.
To summit Mount of the Holy Cross, climbers must complete 12 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 5,600 feet.