Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue finds missing hiker

Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue was called out to Paige Meadows last week to assist in the search for a missing hiker.

With night setting in and temperatures dipping near freezing, the rescue team was able to locate a 78-year-old man roughly 1.5 miles from the trailhead.

“Paige Meadows is a fairly common place for people to get lost especially in the winter,” said Brad Altman, volunteer with Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue. “It’s easy to get disoriented. There are several different meadows that are all interconnected via different trails and at night and in the winter those meadows can really start to look alike.”

The nonprofit search and rescue team was called out by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office at 5:23 p.m., on Thursday, Nov. 17. Within 10 minutes a group of four volunteers were assembled and an hour later the missing hiker was found.

“He had enough common sense to call 911 and ask for help and not wait until it was three in the morning,” said Altman. “He realized he was not going to get himself out of there. It was getting dark, it was getting cold, and even though he was slightly embarrassed that he had to call for help, he did the right thing.”

Altman said the team was called out after the sheriff’s office was unable to guide the hiker out by phone. Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue volunteers where then able to locate exactly where the hiker was via GPS from his cell phone.

Paige Meadows is on the edge of the Tahoe Park Heights neighborhood and is accessed off of Highway 89 on Pine Avenue.

As winter nears, Altman asked hikers and skiers to make a plan before heading out, and to inform family and friends of where they’re recreating at.

“Don’t misjudge your abilities,” he added. “Make sure your fitness and your skills are commensurate with the activity that you’ve planned. Make sure you have plenty of warm clothes, food, water, and have your cell phone charged.”

Based in the Truckee-North Lake Tahoe area, Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that works closely with local sheriff’s departments and other agencies to conduct emergency search and rescue operations each year to those lost or hurt in the wilderness of the rugged Sierra Nevada range. The organizations has completed more than 400 searches and found nearly 700 lost individuals.

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