September 30, 2018
Public Information Unit, 303-441-1500
Marriage Proposal Leads to Rescue
Couple with altitude sickness rescued west of Nederland
Boulder County, Colo. - Joshua Mason, 27, and his girlfriend, Katie Davis, 28, flew from Denton, Texas, to Denver on Friday, September 28, 2018. On Saturday, September 29, 2018, Mason took Davis on a hike from the 4th of July Trailhead in unincorporated Boulder County, Colorado, northwest of Nederland to Jasper Peak on the Continental Divide. An 8.2 mile hike with an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet to the nearly 13,000 foot summit, Mason was hoping to find an isolated scenic location “away from any other people” to propose to Davis. They found exactly such a location, and Davis happily accepted the surprise proposal.
Unfortunately the couple got a late start, and they did not leave the trailhead until around noon. They were carrying little water, and they were not equipped for cold weather or to camp overnight. As there is no readily identifiable trail to Jasper Peak, when it became dark, they became disoriented and got lost.
Fortunately they were found by a lone hiker who led them to a group of his friends who were camping at Diamond Lake. They were showing signs of altitude sickness as well as severe dehydration, and the campers provided them water, food and shelter in a tent where they were able to get warm.
Due to the couple’s condition, one of the campers hiked down from Diamond Lake to her vehicle at the 4th of July Trailhead, and then drove down to Nederland to get cell service and called 911. Boulder County Communications received the call at 2:08am on Sunday morning, and Boulder County Sheriff’s Deputies, the Nederland Fire Protection District and the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group were dispatched.
A Nederland Fire Protection District paramedic located the campers at Diamond Lake at about 4:30am. He determined that Mason and Davis needed to move to a lower altitude immediately, and by that point they had recovered enough that they were both able to walk down to the trailhead, assisted by Rocky Mountain Rescue Group personnel.
They arrived at the trailhead and their rental car at about 6:30am, and they required no further medical treatment. Mason acknowledged that he did not allow enough time to complete the hike before dark, and they did not carry enough water or food. Deputies determined that the couple’s engagement was still on, despite the memorable ordeal.
A photograph of the newly-engaged couple is not available at this time.
The case number for this rescue is 18-5794.
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/s/ Sgt. Clay Leak