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Hiker Warning Others After Mount Timpanogos Rescue

PROVO, Utah – Utah County search and rescue crews have made two separate rescues on Mount Timpanogos in less than a week, and one hiker is warning others after he was taken to an area hospital for hypothermia and frostbite on his hands.

A group of three young men saw heavenly views on top of Mount Timpanogos, but they experienced its wrath on the way down.

“By the time we realized we needed to turn around, there was no way going that route,” said Nathan Knebel, a student at Brigham Young University.

Knebel and two of his cousins got stuck in a snowstorm while climbing the mountain.

“I guess the serious of the situation didn’t hit me — I guess it still hasn’t dawned on me,” Knebel said.

After calling for help, the group was airlifted off the mountain and Knebel was taken to the hospital for hypothermia and frostbite on his hands.

“On top of the mountain it got bad,” Knebel said. “I was exhausted. I couldn’t take more than a couple steps without cramping, stopping and having to catch my breath.”

The group thought they were prepared — but didn’t have the equipment to use in case they got stuck and had to stay overnight.

“Just cause all the fresh snow,” Knebel said. “At no point did I ever think I wouldn’t make it down.”

After four hours, the three men were airlifted off the mountain with assistance from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Intermountain LifeFlight helicopters.

“It is important when engaging in activities like this to be well prepared with equipment that will enable you to stay overnight in any conditions should that become necessary,” officials with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said. “These men, while prepared for some things they encountered, were not well prepared to stay longer, even overnight, on the mountain should that have become necessary.  While they did sustain serious frostbite from the sub-freezing conditions, the outcome could have been much worse.”

Knebel echoed the deputies’ concern.

“Maybe don’t do it,” Knebel said. “If it is your first time doing it and you want experience in ice climbing, maybe go somewhere a little more safer.”

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