justfly Posted April 6, 2006 Report Share Posted April 6, 2006 See, like dude... in California it gets "definitely gnarly cold"! April 4, 2006 Lost skier waited — and waited — for rescue By GENEVIEVE BOOKWALTER SENTINEL STAFF WRITER When lost skier Sven Wetmore awoke in his makeshift snow cave Saturday morning, he was buried under 3 more feet of powder than when he crawled in. He had spent a night of sporadic sleep on a bed of pine needles and his legs were shaking after hiking through snow for hours the day before, in search of civilization. That night "was definitely gnarly cold," Wetmore recalled Monday in Santa Cruz. "Friends said it dropped down to 2 or 4 degrees." On Friday, about 11:15 a.m., Wetmore accidentally veered off a Bear Valley Resort ski trail with nothing to eat but a granola bar. He was rescued Saturday after spending about 24 hours in the snowy wilderness of Stanislaus National Forest in the central Sierra Nevada. He had been skiing while his son, Justin, 13, snowboarded, and the two had planned to meet at the chair lift at the bottom of the run. But snow was falling and fog hung over the mountain. Wetmore, who had been skiing through the trees, didn't see where to cut out of the grove. "Next thing I knew I crossed a river, and I knew I'd never crossed a river before in Bear Valley," Wetmore said. He was lost. The snow was falling harder and fog growing thicker, and Wetmore couldn't see any peaks or ridges to get his bearings. But he started hiking. His main motivation: "I was not going to leave my son at the resort by himself." Wetmore tried to set a tree on fire so rescuers could find him, but the two flaming branches fell into the snow and quickly burned out, he said. He continued hiking to the top of a ridge, where he saw another storm moving in and realized he was stuck overnight. About 6 p.m., he dug a seven-foot cave amongst a grove of trees and crawled in, sweaty and trembling, to wait it out. After glimpsing sun the next morning, Wetmore kicked out the opening of his cave and basked in the rays. He climbed back to the top of the ridge and built himself a chair of snow, sure rescuers would soon find him. Then he waited. And waited. But that elation turned into frustration and eventually anger, as helicopters swarmed the sky but never spotted him. "I watched them for four hours," he said. "They were doing these grid patterns everywhere but where I was." He flashed light off his money clip, waved his jacket, but still no one saw him. So Wetmore started hiking again. Finally, a search and rescue team on snowshoes heard his yelling and whistling about noon Saturday. They summoned a helicopter, which picked the group up and reunited Wetmore with his parents, brother, Justin, Justin's mom and Justin's grandmother. He returned home to Santa Cruz about 6 p.m. He was even at work on time Monday morning, as a real estate agent with David Lyng Real Estate in Capitola. But later that day Wetmore said the weekend was taking its toll. "I'm draining," he said. "I can tell this afternoon I'm slowing down." Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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