A 57-year-old Juneau hiker was rescued on Mount Juneau Friday after slipping on the snowpack near the top of the mountain and tumbling down some 200 feet, injuring his head and shoulder area, authorities say.
The man, who was identified by Alaska State Troopers as Tim Haugh, was listed in stable condition at Bartlett Regional Hospital Friday afternoon. He reportedly had a broken clavicle, lacerations and other injuries, and required 15 stitches to the head.
“He’s doing OK,” his wife said by phone from BRH. She said he was currently undergoing X-rays.
Alaska State Troopers began organizing the search and rescue at about 9:30 a.m. after Haugh had reportedly used his cellphone to call a friend, SEADOGS leader Bruce Bowler, from the mountainside.
“He was on the side of the mountain, in trouble and he called us,” Bowler said in a phone interview. Bowler then alerted Alaska State Troopers, which coordinates all search and rescues.
A Temsco helicopter flew a team of Juneau Mountain Rescue searchers and Capital City Fire/Rescue medics to the top of the mountain on stable ground below the man, and the team hiked up to him. He was in good enough shape to hike back with the group to the helicopter, and he was airlifted off the mountain at 1:30 p.m., troopers said.
CCFR Assistant Chief Tod Chambers said two good Samaritans — hikers also out enjoying the nice day — were on scene comforting Haugh, who was in pain. The good Samaritans also provided troopers the coordinates to find the man quickly.
“Everything worked in this gentleman’s favor,” Chambers said, noting that the head trooper organizing the search, Ryan Anderson, had just hiked Mount Juneau the day before and was familiar with the area. Anderson did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.
Chambers said he wasn’t exactly sure how Haugh fell, but he was told that he had been traversing the snowpack near the top of the mountain — he was about 15 to 20 minutes from the top — when he slipped on the ice. Chambers also noted it was windy up there this morning.
He cautioned others to be wary of the snowpack on the trail.
“If you’re hiking the trail, use some caution,” Chambers said. “Be careful. The weather’s nice but snow is still slick, the trail is still steep. Use your head.”
By phone, Bowler encouraged others to “not go out alone, no matter how good of shape you are in, no matter how capable you are, no matter how beautiful the weather is.” He chided his friend for not listening to his wife when she told him not to hike alone as he left the house for the 5 a.m. hike.
“His wife is very unhappy,” Bowler said. “She told him not to do that.”