A Tumblr message on Sept. 13 shows Connie Yang, left, and Suzanne Turell, two hikers stranded at the top of Long's Peak.
(Photo: Suzanne Turell, tumblr)
Two Maine women who desperately pleaded for help from atop Colorado's Longs Peak early Thursday and were stranded until early Friday have been found.
After search and rescue operations were hampered by flooding and stormy weather conditions, Suzanne Turell and Connie Yang hiked off the ice and snow topped mountain. They were met by a park ranger at about 1 p.m. local time.
Turell's brother, David, tells USA Today that a Rocky Mountain National Park ranger made contact with the pair, saying they hiked down the mountain to and trailhead. They were safe and in good condition after spending the night in cold, freezing conditions and being driven to Grand Lake on the only road still open to the park, according to National Park Service spokesman Rick Frost.
The pair had last been heard from at about 7 a.m. Thursday, when Turell tweeted "we need help. at the top of longs peak.' Turell, who also tweeted her coordinates, said the couple were not injured, but icy conditions put them at risk of hypothermia. Their cellphone battery went dead minutes later.
The York, Maine, couple was socked at the 13,400-foot level by snowy, icy conditions on the south ridge of Longs Peak. Rescue efforts have been hampered by flooded roads and stormy weather conditions, said Mike Sullivan, vice president of NEMO Equipment, a New Hampshire-based camping and outdoor gear manufacturer where Yang and Turell work.
Park officials could not be reached Friday morning but told Sullivan -- frustrated by the lack of rescue efforts -- that two rescue teams planned to search for the pair early Friday. Telephone and cell phone service to the area remains out due to flooding.
Wang, 32, and Turell, 33, are NEMO product designers and were among the first employees to join the tight-knit, 21-employee company, spokeswoman Kate Ketscheck says.
"They're very experienced back country travelers,'' Ketscheck says. "They wouldn't have called for help if they didn't need it."
With rescue operations thwarted by weather and broader operations centered on flooded towns, relatives and friends mounted a p.r. effort on Twitter and social media to drum up support for the pair.
Turell's mother, Barbara, told USA TODAY that her daughter, a graduate of Princeton University and the Rhode Island School of Design, was supposed to return from her trip Friday.
"She's been hiking since she was a tiny little girl -- the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, New Zealand," Barbara Turell says. "She's in good condition. If they could make headway down the mountain, they could have left."