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N.Y. Hiker stranded in snow storm on Hawaii volcano: One thing saved his life

N.Y. Hiker stranded in snowstorm atop Hawaii's Mauna Volcano summit rescued because of a smart move.
N.Y. Hiker stranded in snowstorm atop Hawaii's Mauna Volcano summit rescued because of a smart move.
Wikimedia Commons

A hiker was trapped in a snowstorm on a Hawaiian volcano summit. The New York hiker was trapped on the summit for two days when a heavy snow storm hit. The blizzard-like conditions aren’t something you’d normally associate with Hawaii, but the weather was much like what the Midwest was experiencing on top of the volcano summit, according to NBC News on Jan. 31.

Alex Sverdlow from Queens started out on the 18-mile hike at Hawaii Volcanos National Park up to the Mauna Loa summit on Sunday. The 36-year-old New Yorker reached the 13,677 on Tuesday with a lighter load after dropping off his cold-weather gear at a lower elevation to lessen the load he was carrying.

The hiker was ready to start back down when the winds and snow whipped up keeping him from leaving. He sheltered in place to ride out the storm. He tried to find his backpack that he had left a little ways down the volcano, but it was to no avail. The snow blinded him.

All he had was a frozen bottle of water and the clothes on his back. He found his pack the next day, but the deep snow made the trip down the volcano impossible. Sverdlov had gotten a park permit to hike up the volcano, so the park rangers knew he had gone up. With the park closed because of the snow, it wasn't until Wednesday that the rangers checked to see if he had gone.

Wednesday morning the rangers checked the parking lot and saw that the hiker’s car was still there. This is when they sent up a helicopter to search for him. The rangers said what really saved Sverdlov’s life was that he got the permit that let the park rangers know he was up there. He is back and fine today and he’s already applied for another permit to hike along the coast at the park.