LOCAL NEWS

Teen Stuck On Snowy Mountain Recalls Moment He Knew He Needed Help

Dec 27, 2019, 10:13 PM | Updated: Dec 28, 2019, 12:15 am

FARMINGTON, Utah – The young man stuck on a mountain overnight has spoken out for the first time. He needed help after getting caught in dangerous conditions in Davis County.

John Mark loves tinkering with his bicycles.

“I just have to tune them up a little,” he said while using a screwdriver on one in his Davis County garage Friday evening.

For as much as he likes to take his bike out, though, he decided to go for a hike in the mountains behind his home Thursday afternoon.

“I love the outdoors. I was planning to (go to) Francis Peak just right behind our house here,” said Mark. 

It’s a hike he has done plenty of times. However, he has never done the hike in the winter – especially in as dangerous, snowy conditions as like what’s in the mountains right now.

He made it to the peak, but on his way down, conditions got worse.

“My toes and my fingers were numb. They were soaking wet,” he said. “My boots were frozen, and my pants were frozen stuck to my skin.”

Things got so bad, there was a point where even this strong, healthy 18-year-old didn’t feel so invincible.

“I did get scared. I got scared. I was just thinking too much and it got the better of me. It was the worse conditions I have ever experienced,” said Mark.

With it getting colder and darker, his phone almost dead, and with 5 miles still to hike home, he figured it was time to ask for help.

“I called 911 because my phone was at 1 percent and I was worried it was going to die,” he said.

It’s a good thing he called when he did.

“He got to a point where he just couldn’t move,” said Erik Nornemeier, commander of the Davis County Search & Rescue team. 

Too often, rescuers say people don’t call for help because they don’t want to inconvenience anyone or feel embarrassed about getting into a difficult situation.

Because of that, though, sometimes those people never make it back.

“In fact, when I talked with him, he said he was at a point where he was just ready to curl up and go to sleep,” said Nornemeier.

Mark was picked up the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter in Shepherd Canyon.

“It was the best thing I had ever seen,” said Mark with a laugh. “The first thing I did was hug him when he came down.”

He was flown to the command post where rescuers were waiting to take him to a hospital for observation.

Friday, Mark was home and doing just fine.

He hoped his story can be a lesson for others about how different winter hiking is, and now you need to be prepared for snowy conditions.

“No matter how much experience you have, even if you think you’re the best, there’s always something that can go wrong,” he said.

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Teen Stuck On Snowy Mountain Recalls Moment He Knew He Needed Help