Teens rescued from winter ascent of Mount of the Holy Cross have frostbite

Two teens rescued after a winter summit of a Colorado 14er are recovering from frostbite.

Tommy Hendricks and Matthew Smith thought they could summit Mount of the Holy Cross, near Minturn, last Monday, before a storm hit Tuesday. But the storm hit early.

"The snow was just falling tremendously hard and it was actually blowing about 40 mph," Hendricks told KRDO-TV.

The teens had to make a decision -- go up and call for help or go down to a more sheltered place.

"It was a split decision for us to go to the summit and not head back down, because we figured we'd have a better chance of survival," Hendricks explained.

They summited at 7 p.m. Nov. 21, got cell service and called for help.

While initial reports from authorities said the teens were "moderately" prepared for being delayed by a storm, Hendricks said the teens had left gear at camp before their ascent.

"We didn't have sleeping bags or anything to keep us warm, except our jackets and long underwear," Hendricks said.

Search and rescue crews and the Colorado National Guard's High Altitude Aviation Training squad searched for the teens. They were found and airlifted to safety Nov. 23.

Despite the harrowing rescue, and time in the hospital recovering, Hendricks said he is planning his next adventure.

"This is a major setback," Hendricks said. "Once you’re an adventurous person, it’s kind of like a bug. It just kind of latches on to you and never lets you go."

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