A winter hiker is safe after spending Thursday night stranded on Gavan Hill.
Sitka Fire Chief Dave Miller said the station got a call around 5 p.m. Thursday from a man in his mid-30s who had planned the spend the night in the Gavan Hill shelter, but, said Miller, “he couldn’t get in– the shelter was snowed in.”
“He didn’t have a shovel to dig himself into the cabin,” Miller said. “He had a small tarp-type tent, but not a tent-tent, and a sleeping bag and stuff like that.”
Miller said the hiker did have a stove with him, but forgot the fuel cartridge, so couldn’t boil water to keep warm. Four people from Sitka’s volunteer search and rescue team were assembled and set out around 8 p.m.
“And they arrived up at the shelter at about 2 a.m. Friday morning,” Miller said. “[They] got him some food cooked up and warmed up and in a tent sleeping.”
Sitka has seen heavy snowfall over the last couple of days and whiteout conditions earlier this morning. Miller said there’s more snow in the forecast.
“You know the weather is supposed to stay like this,” Miller said. “It looked like, roughly for the rest of the week, on and off snowstorms. Just prepare for it.”
Miller urged hikers to have a cellphone that’s charged and a radio that’s charged and ready to go, as well.
“And make sure you have everything to stay warm– a good sleeping bag and a tent, because the weather is changing fast,” Miller said. “Every time you turn around it’s something different.”
The hiker, who Miller only identified as a 33-year old man visiting Sitka from Pennsylvania, was uninjured after the incident.