Posted: Oct 16, 2012 8:28 PM by Tara Oster - MTN
Updated: Oct 16, 2012 8:36 PM
WEST GLACIER- Hikers Jason Hiser and Neal Peckens were missing in Glacier National Park for several days, but now they are safe and warm back in their East Coast homes. The two men were found in the Two Medicine Area at about 3:30 p.m. on Monday, and reporter Tara Oster has learned more of the details about how the two men ended up lost.
Hiser and Peckens encountered snow, sleet and strong winds during a planned hike, and their vacation in Glacier National Park took a turn for the worst as the two men were hiking on their planned route, and one of them slipped and fell about 100 feet. The veterinarians and Virginia natives were unable to get back on top of the ridge.
"So they kind of paralleled each other for a while and determined that wasn't going to work, so they decided to go down the mountain, and then maybe find another way back up with the idea of going back to where they started, but because of weather conditions, they were unable to do that," park spokeswoman Denise Germann explained.
The two also had a detailed map of the area, but a sudden gust of wind ripped it out of their hands and they weren't able to find it. They camped the next four nights in the Nyack Drainage, rationed their food, made signals using smoke and used a reflective space blanket so any searchers could find them.
Searchers on foot found them Monday. They were cold and wet, but considering their journey, were in great condition. Our CBS affiliate in Maryland spoke to Neal Peckens' family shortly after learning of the rescue.
"Today I was starting to unravel," Peckens' mother Cathy recalled. "She said he's been found, and that's, you know, everything broke loose. We're like 'He's been found!' and we were just screaming."
The family says during the ordeal, Peckens might have had someone special to keep him going.
"If there's one thing for him to live for, it's Madison. He would have fought for Madison, to survive for Madison. He adores this baby," Peckens' mother-in-law Norma Brown added. "I'm not a drinking lady, but I'm going to have a drink tonight."
"Just to get that news, just you know, everyone is ecstatic," Peckens said.
"This is a perfect example. These guys were pretty well prepared and they had their situational awareness with them and that's what you really need when you encounter the unexpected," Germann told us.
Hiser and Peckens took off from Glacier International Airport on Tuesday so they could get back home to their families. The more than 50 search personnel that spent the last several days in the backcountry, have all made it out safely.