After receiving approximately 450,000 calls just this week from UNKNOWN NUMBER, because we really should extend our vehicle’s warranty, oh, and because our student loans (non-existent) are eligible for a one-time refinance, oh, oh, and we can’t possibly stand by and let (political party) destroy the country so we must elect (political party candidate) or we will all die, we sorta understand why someone wouldn’t answer repeated calls from UNKNOWN NUMBER, even if in a potentially life or death situation.

This one, for example.

A hiker was lost somewhere on the flanks of Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s famed highest peak, one that sees a face-palming amount of accidents as it’s well over 14,000 feet in elevation, but can be hiked without any special gear or training. This hiker set out for the full-day hike last Monday. But they failed to return by the end of the day, prompting a call from people who knew the hiker’s itinerary (good move, hiker!). Lake County Search and Rescue began combing the route the unnamed hiker was supposed to be on that evening, turning up nothing. They suspended the search at 3 am, but not after making many phone calls to the lost hiker.


The hiker received all the calls, but didn’t answer them, thinking they were spam calls.

For 24 hours, the hiker was lost after wandering off trail sometime the day before. Eventually, they found their way back to the trail, and made it back to the trailhead and their car. Only then were they greeted by searchers who explained they’d been calling.


Lake County SAR has a message: “If you’re overdue according to your itinerary, and you start getting repeated calls from an unknown number, please answer the phone; it may be a SAR team trying to confirm you’re safe!”

But also a reminder to SAR teams — text works even better.

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