RIVERTON — Two hikers will pay for the helicopter ride that took them out of the Wind River Mountains after they got lost on a camping trip last week, officials said Friday.
The male subjects were uninjured, and they had food and water, Fremont County Undersheriff Mike Hutchison said, but they “bit off more than they could chew” and “realized they were in over their heads.”
They called the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office last week via satellite phone, according to reports. That agency then contacted the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office at about 8:40 Thursday morning after confirming the hikers’ location.
Coordinates included in the sheriff’s report indicate the hikers were at a lake along Bull Lake Creek east of Douglas Peak.
“They were in a pretty remote alpine area,” Hutchison said. “They walked in somewhere around 30 miles, [and] they didn’t know where to go from there.”
The spot in question is designated as wilderness, he said, so a helicopter was not able to fly to the men directly.
“We’re not allowed to land helicopters in the wilderness if it’s not a dire emergency,” Hutchison said.
Instead, officials asked “some pretty experienced mountaineers” to give the hikers directions to a rendezvous point at the wilderness boundary where they could be picked up.
By Friday mid-morning, Hutchison said, the hikers had reached the designated spot and a helicopter had been dispatched to meet them.
The helicopter flies at a cost of about $1,800 an hour, Hutchison estimated. The two hikers will get the bill.