Hikers Stranded on Appalachian Trail

Backpackers were ill prepared for foul weather

Hunters are at a special risk for altitude sickness.
Hunters are at a special risk for altitude sickness.Outdoor Life Online Editor

Four young male hikers set out over the weekend to hike 71 miles of the Appalachian Trail, beginning at Fontana Lake in North Carolina. However, late-winter weather, especially at higher altitudes, is a fickle entity. What started out as a pleasant weekend quickly turned to a miserable driving rain and finally eight inches of snow.

The young men, ages 18-20, had not packed for the cold weather and found themselves stranded in the Great Smoky Mountains, fighting the onset of hypothermia. One of the men was slurring his speech and vomiting.

Luckily, another group of six backpackers found the foursome. The group split, leaving four with the sick men and sending two to find help. By Wednesday morning the National Park Service had dispatched several rangers to complete the rescue, even putting an emergency helicopter on standby.

All outdoorsmen need to follow certain protocol if they find themselves in a dangerous situation outdoors. Here are a few great stories from OUTDOOR LIFE that provide great information.

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