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Two 17-year-olds Were Just Rescued From Two-Day Blizzard on the PCT

Last Friday, two teenage hikers were rescued after spending 48 hours lost and snowed-in on California’s Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The two 17-year-olds, Riley Ramirez of Cypress, California and Cole White of Portland, Oregon, were left huddling for warmth amid five-foot snow drifts. 

The teens began their excursion on Feb. 26, reports the Palm Springs Desert Sun, but they quickly found themselves overwhelmed by the severe weather. Their plan was to spend ten days hiking a section of the PCT, which stretches nearly 3,000 miles from Mexico to Canada. Of course, they didn’t count on having multiple feet of snow dumped on them. After about two days of hiking, they found the trail impassable. They were also unable to reach out for assistance. They last made contact with their parents on Feb. 28. 

Ramirez’s father soon became nervous about his son’s sudden radio silence. So, he enlisted the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office for assistance. A search party was quickly formed, and a helicopter was dispatched to the boys’ last known location. Both Ramirez and Cole were eventually spotted and brought to safety.  

The boys were both experienced hikers. They had adequate supplies and were prepared for the hike itself, reports The Associated Press. They simply didn’t count on the snowstorm being as severe as it was. 

Record-breaking storms have battered much of California this winter, causing avalanches and even burying burying Yosemite National Park in 15-foot drifts. The park was forced to close for the foreseeable future, deeming conditions too dangerous for visitors. It hasn’t been a particularly safe season for hikers, either. Many predict that the snow will stick around well into the summer, rendering the PCT impassable until late in the season.

While these teens may have packed all the supplies required for a lengthy trip, hiking in March was likely not the best season to make such a journey. This story ended up with a happy ending, but getting lost in a blizzard rarely turns out so well. If you make the decision to go hiking during the cold season, be prepared for all eventualities. Check the forecast for the maximum elevation you plan to hike to, and always plan for the worst.

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