Family prayed for Holy Cross hiker
Vail, CO Colorado
MINTURN ” Jo Gately and her family were praying that her brother would return safely from the Holy Cross Wilderness where he spent two nights.
Gately was in her parent’s Lee’s Summit, Mo., home, when her father, Jim Gately, called from Edwards. Rescuers had found her brother, Jacob Gately, alive, he said.
“It felt wonderful,” Gately said. “We all had a happy cry.”
Rescuers found Jacob Gately, 23, of Lee’s Summit, frostbitten and hypothermic around noon Monday after he spent two nights lost in the Holy Cross wilderness, authorities said. Gately was found on Tigiwon Road, the eight-mile dirt road that leads to the Holy Cross Trailhead, and he was driven in an ambulance to the Vail Valley Medical Center, authorities said.
Jacob Gately and his brother Josh Gately, 24, both of Lee’s Summit, had begun camping near East Cross Creek Friday night, authorities said. They were hiking down from the summit of the 14,005-foot Mount of the Holy Cross Saturday afternoon when they were separated at 13,000 feet, authorities said.
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Jacob Gately had been walking faster, and went ahead of his brother. When Josh Gately returned to the campsite, Jacob Gately wasn’t there, authorities said.
Josh Gately reported his missing brother to authorities from his cell phone shortly before 7 p.m.
Authorities, who decided not to go on the mountain due to heavy snowfall Saturday night, told Josh Gately to camp there for the night in case his brother returned to camp.
Rescuers from the Vail Mountain Rescue Group began searching Sunday morning and found tracks in the snow that they believed were Jacob Gately’s. After putting their search on hold Sunday night, rescuers continued it Monday morning.
On Monday, rescuers were searching with 11 volunteers from Eagle, Grand and Routt counties, a dog and a helicopter.
The rescue teams searched a six-mile stretch of the Half Moon Trail between 10,000 and 12,000 feet in elevation. As much as a foot of snow fell there since Saturday.
Jacob Gately was wearing jeans, tennis shoes, a fleece jacket and a rain jacket and was carrying water and an energy bar when the brothers were separated. Jacob Gately is an experienced hiker, but was not prepared to camp when he separated from his brother, authorities said.
Jacob Gately had been working in Colorado Springs for three months when he and his brother decided they would head to the Vail Valley for a camping trip, Jo Gately said.
“I would say he has the smarts,” Jo Gately said. “He’s not going up there without knowing what he’s doing.”
Jim Gately was grateful for the rescuers, he said.
“This is a happy ending we were praying for,” he said.
Jacob Gately declined comment on the incident, said Jonathan Hoehn, spokesman for the Vail Valley Medical Center. Gately is in stable condition and will stay there Monday night for treatment and observation, Hoehn added.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.