BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A four-day ordeal in the Montana wilderness. Now for the first time, two Maryland hikers are talking about how they survived.
Kai Jackson has more on this incredible story.
Jason Hiser and Neal Peckens– both 32-year-old natives of Hagerstown– set out in the back country of Glacier National Park.
“There was so much snow. There was no trail to be seen,” Jason Hiser said.
They were halfway up the mountain when something went terribly wrong. Peckens slipped and fell 30 yards down the steep terrain.
“When he fell, I was okay after he stopped sliding down the hill,” Hiser said.
Worse still, their map blew away. They were lost in white-out conditions.
“You couldn’t tell whether we should be going down or up because the topographic map would have told us that,” Hiser said.
They decided the safest thing to do was hunker down. The experienced hikers used their instincts.
“We did an S.O.S. sign out of burnt logs,” Peckens said.
They were stranded for four days, rationing energy bars. Fifty rescuers scoured the area on the ground and in the air.
“Once we knew that people were actually looking, we felt better but it was a little discouraging to have them fly over your head and not see you,” Hiser said. “So after we knew they were looking, it was just a matter how long can we wait it out.
The hikers never thought they wouldn’t make it out alive, at least not for very long.
“It was a fleeting thought at the time. You don’t think about that at all,” Hiser said.
But it was their families who feared the worst.
“We lay there thinking what our wives were thinking or what our family is thinking,” Hiser said. “We can’t do anything to change what they’re thinking because there’s no way to communicate with them.”
Friends have already raised more than $30,000 to reimburse the search and rescue organizations. Click here to make a donation.