Courtesy Eagle County Sheriff's office
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August 11, 2009 — An Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter dropping search and rescue crews on Mount of the Holy Cross Wednesday morning spotted two hikers missing since Monday.
The Michigan men were last seen Monday at 3:30 p.m. at about 13,500 feet as they hiked toward the summit of Mount of the Holy Cross. The search began Tuesday shortly before 8 a.m. when the hikers failed to return to their campsite at Cross Creek Monday and another hiker who was waiting for them there reported them missing.
Vail Mountain Rescue sent two teams into the field on foot with a search and rescue dog. Search operations ended Tuesday at 5 p.m. and resumed Wednesday at 7:45 a.m.
At approximately 8:30 a.m. Wednesday a Black hawk helicopter from the Colorado National Guard High Altitude Aviation Training Center (HAATS) at the Eagle County Regional Airport located the two missing hikers, Andy Westergard and Bill Hird, in Reeds Meadow.
Both men are in their mid 40s and are from Michigan. They were unable to call for help because they left their cell phones at their campsite.
Vail Mountain Rescue Group (VMRG) advises that if you become lost in the backcountry, do not continue on. Retrace your route back toward the trailhead until you pick up the trail or find someone who knows the area. If you cannot retrace your route, stay put, conserve energy and water, make yourself visible, and await rescue.
There have been numerous rescue operations over the years on Holy Cross, the highest mountain in Eagle County and one of the state's 54 fourteeners, or peaks in excess of 14,000 feet.
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