A search team on Wednesday evening rescued two tourists who got lost on the West Glacier Trail.
Alaska State Troopers said in an online dispatch that Celia Duriez, 27, of France and Clarissa Spiller, 32, of New York called 911 at 7:41 p.m. when they realized they couldn’t find the trailhead.
U.S. Forest Service members and canine “Brew” of the SEADOGS K-9 search and rescue team helped locate the hikers using a GPS location the callers providers. The hikers made it back to the trailhead without injury.
Juneau’s first responders frequently respond to distress calls on West Glacier Trail during the summertime, to rescue hikers going to and from the Mendenhall Glacier ice caves, a destination that has grown in popularity in recent years. The trail is an unmaintained, unofficial path that requires a bit of scrambling up rocks, and has a confusing array of trail markers. Both locals and hikers from out of town have gotten lost on the trail, especially in the dark. Two hikers from Oregon were rescued from the trail earlier this year.
The U.S. Forest Service recommends having a guide lead the hike. If not, the agency recommends at least following a GPS course, allowing at least six to eight hours for the trek to save daylight, wearing weather-appropriate clothes with extra layers in a pack and bringing a light source.