Hiker found two miles from where friends lost him | VailDaily.com

Hiker found two miles from where friends lost him

J.K. Perry

HOLY CROSS WILDERNESS – Rescuers scoured the Half Moon Trail area Thursday and found 54-year-old Alex Storke disoriented and dehydrated nearly two miles northwest of where his friends left him Tuesday in Holy Cross Wilderness.Rescuers spotted the Minnesota man from a distance. He had managed to walk 2,000 feet lower and 1.8 miles from where he was last seen, said Kim Andree, spokeswoman for the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.”He didn’t appear to have any life-threatening injuries,” Andree said. “We were very, very pleased to call his wife and tell him he was OK.”A helicopter transported Storke to Vail Valley Medical Center for treatment, Andree said.On Tuesday, Storke intended to hike 14,005 Mount of the Holy Cross with a Denver friend and two other men from his home state of Minnesota, Andree said. The three friends left Storke at about 11 a.m. on the Half Moon Trail above timberline when he became tired. The trio planned to summit Holy Cross and then meet up with Storke.When they returned around 2:30 p.m., Storke was missing. The three searched the area for five hours before calling authorities.On Thursday, approximately 35 rescuers from Vail Mountain Rescue, Lake County and Summit County accompanied by five dog teams were airlifted into Holy Cross Wilderness by three Army National Guard helicopters.The rescuers searched several areas, but focused on the east ridge of Cross Creek.Last summer, Michelle Vanek, a mother of ? from the Front Range disappeared on a hike with a friend on Mount of the Holy. Despite what authorities called one of the largest searches in Colorado history, Vanek was not found. Where Storke went after his friends left is a matter of speculation, Andree said.”He could have tried to walk out on his own,” she said. “He could have easily gotten lost and continued to walk hoping he’d run into someone.”Why Storke left the area was unknown Thursday afternoon.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or jkperry@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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