A Canadian teenager cost the National Park Service thousands of dollars and risked the lives of nearly 30 rescuers when he tried to climb one of Colorado’s most daunting mountains — still covered in snow and ice — wearing sneakers and a T-shirt.
Nineteen-year-old Samuel Frappier of Quebec set out for the 14,000-feet-above-sea-level summit of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park with little mountaineering experience and no technical climbing gear.
During his descent, he became separated from a friend and wandered onto the Broadway Ledge, a narrow snow-covered lip above a sheer 1,000-foot drop and became stranded.
He called for help on his cell phone and spent the night shivering and exposed on the ledge.
Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said Frappier was in an “extremely precarious” position on the face of the mountain known by mountaineers as The Diamond, home to some of the toughest alpine climbing routes in Colorado.
At this time of year, The Diamond is especially precarious because of the spring melt, which causes significant rock and ice fall.
The National Park Service used helicopters to try to pluck Frappier off the ledge using ropes, including a specialized helicopter that flew from Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyo., for the rescue effort.
Due to high winds, the helicopters were called off and a team of 28 rescuers waited until the temperature cooled before attempting a ground rescue.
“For most of the day, [rescuers] encountered rapidly melting conditions on the east face of Longs Peak, which has caused significant snow and rock fall,” Patterson told reporters. “This debris could injure rescue personnel as well as Samuel.”
They reached the teen late Wednesday and took him down safely.
Contacted by reporters at a hospital in Estes Park, Frappier admitted his outing was “stupid” and that he’s lucky to be alive.
“It was stupid and I’ll never do it again,” he told CBS Denver.
In an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation, Patterson said the cost of the rescue is still being calculated, but that it would be steep.
“It will be in the thousands of dollars due to the helicopter use,” she said, adding that the cost of the operation will be borne by the park service.
“It will be paid out of general operating funds of the National Park Service,” she wrote. “We do not charge people who we rescue … or their families.”
Frappier was uninjured during the ordeal. He told CBS Denver he’s heading back to Quebec.
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