Even with impressive wilderness survival skills, injuries and a dead cell phone could have taken a drastic toll.

What sounds like an awesome team effort involving a lot of dedicated professionals resulted in the rescue of a Montana hiking and biking enthusiast. And that rescue was  aided by the person doing what everyone should do before embarking on an excursion in the wilderness: let others know where you're going and when you plan to be back!

Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue reports receiving a call this past Saturday morning, May 11, notifying them of an overdue mountain biker/hiker. The party placing the call believed his destination was the Hyalite Canyon area near Bozeman.  The hiker was expected back the previous evening. By now, nearly 24 hours had passed since his departure.

Hiking in Montana
Image courtesy of Getty Images, snowflock


Search and Rescue personnel began a back-country search, locating the missing hiker’s vehicle in Hyalite Canyon. The team located some tracks possibly made by the hiker. K-9 search, drone and helicopter teams were dispatched to the area. On Saturday afternoon, the missing hiker was seen walking out to the Hyalite Reservoir parking lot. He had suffered a fall and his cell phone battery was dead. Unable to walk out that night, he built a snow-cave shelter in order to survive a cold night.

A medical evaluation determined he had suffered from cold exposure, possible head and back injuries, and was badly dehydrated. Paramedics transported the hiker to a Bozeman hospital for further evaluation.

The sheriff's department commended the hiker for utilizing wilderness survival skills while spending the night in the back country and wanted to remind recreationalists to always carry sufficient food, water, cold weather gear and multiple means of communication to contact Search and Rescue if needed.

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