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Extensive search mission for hiker later found safe


A Houston, Texas man, the subject of a search that began late Saturday night and continued all day Sunday, was finally returned to safety early Sunday evening. 

The sheriff’s office received a call shortly after 10pm Saturday from a man who reported that his friend, 46-year-old Kishore Joshi, had separated from their hiking party after summiting Mt. Harvard.  Joshi and one other person decided to traverse the ridge and summit Mt. Columbia.  On the descent from that mountain, Joshi became separated from his climbing companion.  He text-messaged his friends who had reached the trailhead that he had become disoriented and was not sure of his location.

At 11pm a search and rescue member was able to speak with Joshi by cell phone and tried to give him directions but Joshi continued to move and could not give an accurate location.  At one point, he told the volunteer that he had contacted some other hikers and would spend the night on the mountain in their camp.

Early the following day, Sunday, a search and rescue mission was launched.  Despite several attempts, no cell phone contact was established with Joshi.  Throughout the day, searchers posted at the North Cottonwood Creek Trailhead interviewed hikers returning from the mountain and asked if they had seen anyone fitting Joshi’s description; none had. 

By noon, a full-scale search mission was underway, involving approximately twenty-two personnel hiking in on foot and on ATVs.  Many of these were diverted from their other duties at Buena Vista’s Gold Rush Days events.  At 3pm, another hiker was reported overdue, further complicating the mission.  Fortunately this person walked out on her own, uninjured, a short time later.

With a full moon and clear skies, searchers expected to continue their efforts until after dark.  At around 4pm, still with no sighting or word from Joshi, planning was begun for continuing the search the following day.  The state’s search and rescue board was contacted to arrange for more personnel and search dogs from other counties and for helicopters from the Army National Guard to be employed in the search.

Then, as rescuers were assembling resources for the following day, a call was received from a resident in the Four Elk subdivision north of Buena Vista.  Mr. Joshi had arrived at their door requesting assistance, as he had finally hiked down from the mountain.  He was uninjured.