Andrew Tse took this photograph from atop Mount Roberts on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. Shortly afterward, Tse became stranded and would spend 26 hours on the mountain before rescue crews could reach him. (Courtesy photo | Andrew Tse)

Andrew Tse took this photograph from atop Mount Roberts on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. Shortly afterward, Tse became stranded and would spend 26 hours on the mountain before rescue crews could reach him. (Courtesy photo | Andrew Tse)

Hiker stranded on ledge for 26 hours shares his story

Cruise ship worker Andrew Tse walked away from ordeal with just a few scratches

He spent 26 hours on the side of Mount Roberts with only a raincoat to shield him from the wind and rain.

New Yorker Andrew Tse took a wrong turn while hiking in Juneau Thursday, slipped on a rock and slid down the mountainside before landing on a small ledge with barely any room to stand. But he also wasn’t able to get himself back to the trail.

Talking to the Empire from his room at Bartlett Regional Hospital, the 26-year-old cruise ship worker for Celebrity Cruise lines recalled his story of being rescued.

He wasn’t badly hurt, “no broken bones, thank God, only a couple of scratches,” he said.

He said had taken the Mount Roberts Tramway up to the trail around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, but going back down, he said he got lost and then stuck when he slid down the mountain.

He called a colleague who informed the cruise ship staff, who in turn called 911. However, due to the stormy weather that day, rescue crews weren’t immediately able to get him off the mountain.

“Unfortunately, the weather conditions were unfavorable,” Tse said. “It was foggy, windy, cold, raining … everything. I had nothing but a raincoat to keep me warm.”

A number of agencies were called in to assist with the rescue. The effort was coordinated by the Alaska State Troopers and involved Juneau Mountain Rescue, Sitka Mountain Rescue, Alaska SEADOGS, the National Weather Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Capital City/Fire Rescue and the Red Cross.

At one point, a Coast Guard helicopter was called in but because of 80-mile-an-hour winds was not able to help. According to a dispatch from the Alaska State Troopers, Tse was able to provide his GPS location using his cellphone. He was located in the area of Snowslide Creek, west of Gastineau Peak at an elevation of about 2,700 feet.

According to Jackie Ebert with Juneau Mountain Rescue, Tse was located about 500 feet below the trail about a mile from the tram.

“There wasn’t much room at all,” Tse said, referring to the ledge. “I stayed up the whole night. Literally my focus was not to fall any further down. The majority of my time at night was making sure I didn’t move too much.”

Ebert told the Empire that an initial JMR crew of two arrived on the scene arrived on the scene at approximately 11 p.m. They decided that they weren’t properly equipped to safely rescue Tse, given the terrain and the weather. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures that night went down to 44 degrees Fahrenheit with gust of wind reaching 28 mph.

Based on the conditions, the JMR team decided that the kind of rope system they would need to safely rescue Tse would require more people, Ebert told the Empire.

The Coast Guard was called in the between 2 and 3 in the morning Friday, and brought with them members of the Sitka Mountain Rescue team.

Eventually, rescue crews were able to reach Tse and attach him to a harness. With the help of rescuers, Tse was able to climb back up to the trail and walk to the tram station. They were able to bring Tse back down using the tram. Goldbelt staff kept the tram running through the night to facilitate the rescue effort, Ebert said.

“At that point they were able to feed me, hydrate me,” Tse said. Rescuers gave him, “a couple of crackers and donuts, things high in sugar and calories, just so my body could get something in its system after not eating for so long.”

Tse was taken directly to Bartlett Regional Hospital where staff checked his vitals. Tse was in stable condition Monday morning, according to Bartlett spokesperson Katie Bausler. Tse said that when he is eventually discharged he’ll meet up with his cruise ship and then make a decision if he wants to continue working or return home to recover.

Speaking with the Empire Monday, Tse sounded calm and thankful his ordeal was over.

“It was scary,” he said, “but it was reassuring at least when I saw (the rescuers). I knew that help was on the way.”

Tse said he was very thankful to JMR and all the agencies that helped to bring him down in the safest way possible.

Capital City Fire/Rescue Assistant Chief Travis Meade told the Empire that he was impressed by Tse’s ability to walk himself to the tram after spending the night on the side of the mountain.

“That really helped,” Meade said. If rescuers had had to carry Tse out, “that would’ve prolonged his exposure,” Meade said.

Meade encouraged hikers to always be prepared.

“If you’re hiking in Southeast Alaska, conditions can change quickly,” he said. He urged people to bring extra layers and if they get into trouble, call for help as early as possible.

But most of all, “stay on the trails,” he said.


• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or psegall@juneauempire.com.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Oct. 2

Here’s what to expect this week.

Screenshot / Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel 
Bob Bird, left, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party, and former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman make the case in favor of a state constitutional convention during a debate in Anchorage broadcast Thursday by Alaska Public Media.
Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Abortion, PFD factor into forum.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Faith Rogers’ loved ones, from left to right, James Rogers (father), Michelle Rogers (sister), Harmony Wentz (daughter), Maria Rogers (mother) and Mindy Voigt (friend) sit with Faith’s three dogs in their family home. Faith Rogers, 55, of Juneau was found dead along a popular trail on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Police are investigating the death as a homicide.
‘It’s shocking’: Family hopes for answers after suspicious death of loved one

“She wanted to make things beautiful, to help make people beautiful…”

People work together to raise the Xa’Kooch story pole, which commemorates the Battle of the Inian Islands. (Shaelene Grace Moler / For the Capital City Weekly)
Resilient Peoples & Place: The Xa’Kooch story pole — one step toward a journey of healing

“This pole is for the Chookaneidi, but here among us, many clans are represented…”

A bracket fungus exudes guttation drops and a small fly appears to sip one of them.( Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Water drops on plants

Guttation drops contain not only water but also sugars, proteins, and probably minerals.

A chart shows what critics claim is poor financial performance by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, especially in subsidizing private industry projects intended to boost the state’s economy, during its 55-year existence. The chart is part of a report released Tuesday criticizing the agency. (MB Barker/LLC Erickson & Associates/EcoSystems LLC)
AIDEA’s fiscal performance fishy, critics say

Report presented by salmon industry advocates asserts state business subsidy agency cost public $10B

Police vehicles gather Wednesday evening near Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei, also known as ]]Brotherhood Bridge Trail, while investigating a homicide. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Police: Woman was walking dogs when she was killed

JPD said officers are working “around the clock” on the criminal investigation.

Most Read