A hiker toppled 60 feet down a North Carolina mountain and then called for help on his cell phone.
The 55-year-old hiker suffered only a leg injury after falling down “a steep rock face” on the Beacon Heights trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain, Robert Calloway, assistant chief for administration at Linville Central Rescue Squad, told The Charlotte Observer via Facebook.
“The hiker was able to use his cell phone to call for help, but initially gave the wrong trail name to dispatchers,” Calloway said in his Facebook message. “Fortunately, they were able to use his phone to locate him based on his coordinates.”
Emergency responders used a rescue stretcher known as stokes basket, as well as ropes and other equipment to safely get the hiker off the rocks and to a medical facility, Calloway told the Observer.
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His rescuers moved the hiker about a quarter-mile to a parking area and an ambulance that was waiting there for him, Calloway said.
The hiker’s hometown has not been released.
About 24 rescuers from multiple agencies responded, most of them volunteers, Calloway told the Observer.
“A big thank you to Watauga County Rescue, Blowing Rock Rescue, Watauga and Avery EM, Linville, Crossnore, and Banner Elk Fire Departments,” Linville Central Rescue Squad posted on Facebook. “Great turnout for a Tuesday morning.”
Beacon Heights trail is less than a mile long, but it is “one of the most popular trails off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain” because of its “far-flung, panoramic and beautiful” views, according to Asheville Trails.com.
Tuesday’s incident should remind Blue Ridge Parkway visitors to “always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return,” Calloway told the Observer.
Also, stick to marked trails and wear appropriate clothing and footwear, “keeping in mind that drastic and sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions can occur in the mountains” Calloway advised.
Calloway also said in his Facebook message to the Observer that “several of the searches we conduct each year are caused by people underestimating how long it will take them to hike a particular trail. Keep in mind that hiking some of the more difficult trails can be very strenuous, so your physical condition should be taken into account, as well. “