Overdue Hiker Turns Up in Rocky Mountain National Park

Boyd Severson.

A search was launched September 25th after Boyd Severson, of Iowa, failed to return from a climb of Mummy Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. NPS handout.

A hiker who failed to return from a climb of 13,425-foot Mummy Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park turned up almost 24 hours later than planned.

Boyd Severson, 56, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was found last night about 6:30 p.m. hiking down the Lawn Lake Trailhead, according to park officials.

The last time Severson had been heard from was around 12:30 p.m. Monday, when he told a friend via email that he was within a quarter-mile of the summit and didn't want to turn back because he was so close to the top.

When Severson failed to make it back to the Lawn Lake Trailhead as planned Monday evening, a search was organized.

A snow storm had forced closure of the park's Trail Ridge Road on Sunday, and yesterday 3 more inches of snow and white-out conditions were reported at the Alpine Visitor Center near the crest of the road.

Rangers had no immediate information on why Severson was a day late or how he coped during the snow storm.


DENVER -- Search and Rescue teams have found a hiker who went missing in the Rocky Mountain National Park Tuesday evening.
Link: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/14205018/detail.html

Interesting tidbit from the article:
"Severson was wearing khaki cargo pants with zip-off legs and a black and rust-colored Columbia jacket with a hood. He also packed black gloves, a khaki hat, a first-aid kit, two cans of Mountain Dew soda, two liters of water, a silver space blanket, a flashlight and matches."

That must've been what saved him... the Mt. Dew.

And oh wow, my old boss from Grand Canyon, Larry Frederick, is quoted in the article -- so that's where he went!

Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Missing Hiker Found After Night In Mountains

Boyd Severson, 56, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was dropped off at the Lawn Lake trailhead to climb 13,425-foot-high Mummy Mountain at 7 a.m. on the morning of Monday, September 24th. He failed to return to the trailhead to meet his wife as scheduled that afternoon, and she reported him as overdue at 8 p.m. The weather above tree line on Monday was wintry (Trail Ridge Road was closed due to snow and ice on Sunday afternoon). The park began searching for Severson with hasty teams early on Tuesday morning. An area search by helicopter was begun at mid-morning and a dog team began working the area in the afternoon. No sign of Severson was found that day. At 6:30 p.m., a group of four searchers from the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group hiking into Lawn Lake encountered Severson, who was hiking out on the same trail. He was in good condition. They notified the incident command post that he’d been found – just as his wife and two other family members were arriving for an evening briefing. Severson arrived at the trailhead just after 8 p.m., where he conducted a brief interview with the media before being reunited with his wife and family at the ICP. He was debriefed by incident commander Cindy Purcell and her team. Severson said that he’d become disoriented in whiteout conditions while descending the peak and had entered the wrong drainage. After discovering his mistake, he tried to retrace his steps and ran out of daylight. He crawled into a small “cave,” stacked rocks around him, covered himself with a plastic bag, a “rescue blanket” and clothing items he had with him, and weathered the night above tree line while 60 to 70 mph winds blew through the area. Both of his water bottles froze solid. He stayed in place until 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning, when the weather had greatly improved and the sun had come out, then worked his way back toward the area he had come from, sat on a high point for three hours after seeing a helicopter, and finally made his way back to the Black Canyon and Lawn Lake trails, where he was found. He required no medical treatment. Media interest was considerable. [Submitted by Larry Frederick, Acting Public Affairs Officer]