A 48-year-old Chicago man spent an unexpected night in the backcountry Tuesday after failing to return from a day hike on the Autumn Creek Trail near Marias Pass, in the southern section of Glacier National Park.
Park rangers found Luis Lim cold, wet, tired and hungry, but otherwise uninjured near the trail at approximately 10:30 a.m.
At around 11 a.m. Tuesday, Lim and Stephen Vickery, a 66-year old man from Toronto, began hiking from the Autumn Creek Trail in East Glacier, heading toward Marias Pass. According to park rangers, their intended destination was the Lubec Trailhead. The two men had just met that morning in East Glacier and decided to hike together. It was Lim’s first time hiking, while Vickery describes himself as an experienced hiker.
At 5:40 p.m., Lim called Glacier National Park Dispatch to report he and Vickery were lost on the trail and concerned they would not make it out before dark. Glacier County law enforcement pinged Lim’s cell phone several times in order to pinpoint the hikers’ location. Glacier County sheriff’s deputies responded to the area and located Vickery on U.S. Highway 2 at approximately 2 a.m.
Vickery told park rangers that Lim was still in the backcountry and was physically unable to continue with him due to exhaustion. The hikers carried water and food for the day, but were not prepared to stay overnight.
On Wednesday at approximately 6 a.m. five crews of Glacier National Park employees began searching for Lim by foot and horseback.
Rangers found Lim approximately 3.75 miles from the Marias Pass Trailhead, off the Autumn Creek Trail, at around 10:30 a.m. He arrived safely at the Marias Pass Trailhead with rescuers at approximately 2 p.m.
Flathead County Search and Rescue and Two Bear Air were en route to the search when the hiker was located.
Park officials urge visitors to carefully plan trips by researching the area they plan to visit, especially when traveling in the backcountry, and carrying up-to-date maps, a compass, first aid kit, flashlight, rain gear, matches, fire starter, whistle, extra food, and extra clothing. Without planning and awareness of an individual’s surroundings, accidents can happen, officials warned.
If a hiker becomes lost, stay on a designated trail and do not move from your location. Try to contact emergency services if possible and follow all directions from park rangers. Park rangers recommend all visitors utilize the Glacier National Park Day Trip Plan, available at any backcountry permit office in the park or online at http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/upload/Day-Trip-Plan.pdf.