SEVERE WX : Winter Storm Warning View Alerts

Lone hiker rescued after stranger's 911 call

A hiker stranded on the Pacific Crest Trail was rescued after a stranger called 911.

Posted: Nov 2, 2018 6:44 PM
Updated: Nov 2, 2018 6:46 PM

A two-hour hike on the Pacific Crest Trail between two strangers led to the rescue of one of them just days after.

Katharina Gröne on Wednesday described how she was alone, surrounded by snow and sleet, and trapped 5,000 feet up on a mountain when a helicopter swooped down to rescue her.

"I was not sure I would make it out at all," Gröne said in a press conference. "I already, via WhatsApp, informed my parents. I apologized for dying on the PCT, for risking too much, for being too stupid."

Gröne, of Germany, started her journey on the PCT at the Mexican Border in May, and she was committed to make it to Canada.

She met Nancy Abell at Lake Susan Jane in Washington on October 22, and Abell offered her a ride to Stevens Pass, a popular mountain resort. The two hiked around the area for about two hours, before Gröne decided to head north.

"I felt like, being from Germany, she wasn't familiar with the Glacier Peak wilderness area, and Glacier Peak creates its own weather, and it can be really bad this time of year," Abell said. "The whole two hours we were hiking together, I was trying to talk her out of it."

Up to 3 feet of snow was expected where Gröne was headed.

'It's terrifying'

After the weather started getting worse, Abell checked the weather and her maps, and pinpointed where Gröne might be before calling 911.

"I couldn't sleep the night before because I was so worried about her," Abell said. "Anybody, really I would have done the same thing for if I thought they were in peril up there, because I've been through it and it's terrifying."

While on Glacier Peak, Gröne lost shelter equipment and two sets of gloves as the snow and sleet closed in.

"I was screaming for help in the morning because I just had to get the fear out of me. I was screaming all the names I knew and I was just hoping that someone would react." Gröne said.

After being in contact with Abell, the Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team spotted footprints and Gröne's red jacket and eventually got their SnowHawk 1 chopper close enough so she could climb in.

The rescue team was on its last scan before running out of fuel, according to Bill Quistorf, the chief pilot for the sheriff's office.

"Katharina did not need any encouragement to climb aboard SnoHawk 1 and fly off the mountain," the team wrote in a Facebook post Monday.

Faith in humanity is back

"The biggest thing, which I have struggled with before I started the PCT, was faith in humanity," Gröne said.

While Gröne was stuck in the mountains she was asking why no one cares about anyone else.

"My faith in humanity? Definitely restored, so box checked," Gröne said in the press conference, sitting next to the former strangers who saved her life.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1212922

Reported Deaths: 40637
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens1515817782
Kings1485017994
Suffolk1225972545
Nassau1099842518
Bronx1015535243
Westchester819821774
New York727353419
Erie502271339
Richmond433221363
Monroe42774737
Rockland31061806
Orange27862642
Onondaga26544517
Oneida16110331
Dutchess15873290
Albany15520248
Niagara11534233
Broome10620248
Saratoga865376
Schenectady8183116
Ulster7337183
Rensselaer6454101
Putnam620370
Chemung5422107
Chautauqua522151
Oswego466462
Ontario452877
Steuben4444130
Cayuga419768
Sullivan371348
Wayne352750
Genesee350691
Herkimer342346
St. Lawrence332055
Cattaraugus325360
Madison298575
Jefferson294220
Cortland256352
Livingston256136
Tompkins252822
Columbia229966
Allegany228675
Tioga212454
Montgomery206971
Wyoming198741
Clinton197713
Fulton193247
Greene192951
Warren192836
Orleans185167
Chenango165438
Otsego155921
Lewis138822
Washington138121
Seneca114445
Franklin10409
Delaware96516
Essex92916
Schoharie8515
Yates75816
Schuyler68410
Hamilton1431
Unassigned37108
Out of NY0163
Rome
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 28°
Binghamton
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 22°
Rome
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 25°
Rome
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 25°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
2021 Golfer's Paradise Card - 21 Courses for only $99.99
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve