Air Force Academy cadets save hikers in trouble on 14er

DENVER (KKTV) - Shivering in subzero temperatures, jeans ripped and drenched from heavy snowfall -- the situation was looking dire for a pair of hikers on 14er Torreys Peak in late October.

Then saviors arrived, in the form of college-aged kids.

Luckily for the two hikers, the moment things looked the worst -- the cold, no food, little water, near sunset -- was the moment the Air Force Academy Cadet Mountaineering Club was descending the peak.

"They were woefully unprepared for the conditions," said the officer in charge of the club, Lt. Col. Robert Marshall. "They had lost the trail and weren't sure how to get down the mountain. They had no flashlight, map, GPS rescue beacon or shelter."

The eight cadets and three officers came across the pair at exactly the right time.

"This was an absolute save," Marshall said.

The group spotted the hikers and, according to the Air Force Academy, gave them extra clothing and guided them back to the trail head near Loveland Pass.

The hike took 10 hours for the cadets, many who had never climbed a 14er before. Cadet 4th Class Jackson Trent said the conditions were difficult for the cadets too, and there were moments he was frightened about what he had chose to undertake.

"On my ascent up the mountain, I was scared out of my mind and I had no experience whatsoever," he said. "Two hours before we summited, I didn't care if we made it to the top ... [The officers] told me not to think about the summit or my fears, and just focus on the five meters around me."

But by the time the reached the lost hikers, Jackson said the cadets were able and prepared to offer aid.

"Coming back, the confidence we built up in ourselves drove us to help those guys out."