Four women from Georgia were rescued in the Pecos Wilderness on Thursday after they became disoriented while hiking in Alpine terrain, New Mexico Search and Rescue Incident Commander Al Webster said.

The women, between the ages of 20 and 25, became disoriented Wednesday four miles southeast of Truchas Peak. Without snowshoes, they were quickly exhausted from trudging through high snow bluffs.

Volunteers from Santa Fe Search and Rescue, Atalaya Search and Rescue, Cibola Search and Rescue, and New Mexico Search and Rescue hiked 11 miles, with an elevation gain of about 4,500 feet, to reach the women.

Nearly 30 volunteers spent about 24 hours searching for the women, who had been backpacking but were not expecting the deep snow found at the higher elevation, Webster said.

“We love to rescue people,” he said. “We also will recover deceased individuals out in the wilderness, but we are just ecstatic when we can rescue people.”

New Mexico Mounted Search and Rescue provided horses to help bring materials to those on the ground. Civil Air Patrol also provided High Bird radio relay, a high-altitude radio system used to communicate in areas with difficult signal connection.

Lt. Col. Larry Zentner, an incident commander of the Civil Air Patrol, said the group was traveling on the Skyline Trail in the Pecos Wilderness.

“The four adult females were very well equipped, highly experienced and hiked from Jack’s Creek Campground,” he said. “They just got disoriented and it got dark on Wednesday night.”

Zentner said the High Bird radio relay was necessary because of the area’s terrain.

“Once the incident management team realized they were about nine miles deep into the wilderness in very rugged wilderness alpine terrain, the radios that talk to one another directly just weren’t going to work,” he said.

Three planes were used to search for the women, and the rescue mission was completed at about 9 p.m. Thursday.

The hikers had a tent, sleeping bags, food and water, Webster said. After they were rescued, they were assessed by medical professionals, but they had no injuries or health issues.

After being medically cleared, the women returned home, Webster said.

“This was one of the most arduous rescues that I have run recently,” Webster said. “But we really enjoy saving people.”

(19) comments

Walter Howerton

I too arrived in New Mexico from Georgia well equipped with everything but what I needed to know. It was the early 1970s. Boy was I surprised when I was heading to Bull of the Woods above Taos in the early summer, encountered thigh-deep snow and turned back. People in Georgia and any other places south and east cannot imagine 1) That much snow, and 2) that snow could linger in the summer anywhere. It was a know before you go situation. And I didn't. Rescue is great, knowledge is better.

Kristen Schwartz

What a brave group of United States citizens exploring their country and national parks that their tax dollars fund; I'm am glad they are safe. What a gift to have such beautiful humans that volunteer their time to help others in need. Kudos to the men and women of the rescue teams.

Ivy Schwartz

These girls are my hero’s!! #yolo

Augustin de la Sierra

These four young women from Georgia had a tent, sleeping bags and food. They supposedly are experienced backpackers. Who called for a search and rescue mission? Why? They need to pay for using up New Mexico resources.

Darned out of staters are already destroying the developed campgrounds in New Mexico. At this point, it's easier to get a reservation at a Santa Fe hotel than it is at many New Mexico campgrounds.

Jim Klukkert

Sorry to see that Augustin de la Sierra and Kathy Fish speak first of getting money from these young folks from out of state, rather than following Ann Maes' good example of celebrating our SAR teams and the Rescue rather than the Recovery those SAR folks pulled up. A highly complex effort, special thanks to the Civil Air Patrol [CAP] for their highly technical accomplishment in radio relay! Fleet Bravo Zulu!

As to using up NM resources, last I looked, these are National Forest Lands, public lands that are there for all of us to enjoy. These "darned out of staters" were not in developed campgrounds when they wandered off trail. Certainly is not their responsibility that "it's easier to get a reservation at a Santa Fe hotel than it is at many New Mexico campgrounds."

Before locals get chewing on the ankles of 'darned out of staters,' I hope those same folks will get familiar with the various elements of which they want to pontificate, and show some of the great 'simpatico' that characterizes most of New Mexicans, albeit obviously, not all.

Finally, ladies from the Peach State: glad things worked out for you! I will join with others celebrating your rescue. When you have the opportunity to honor all the efforts that went into bringing you back from the peaks of disaster, I know you will be finding a way or two to pay it forward. Many blessings, sisters, ¡hasta luego! Con dios.

rodney carswell


Darryl Dinkson

Nicely said Jim! It is too bad that a lot of people in this world see the negative instead of the positive in this world. Keep being a bright light in this world!

Moses Townsend

I bet the natives were saying “darn out of staters” when your ancestors came trotting into this area from Spain.

We’re all human and can visit wherever we like. They weren’t doing anything illegal, this isn’t specifically “your” land. Get over that mentality because if anything all the Nortenos lamenting about tourists and transplants don’t even realize the hypocrisy. In the big picture, Spaniards haven’t been here that long either.

Augustin de la Sierra

Moses, thank you for the reminder that I myself am a carpetbagger.

Last summer I bumped into a Texan at the very crowded Black Canyon campground, up the mountain. He was searching for a working water spigot. The water had been turned off, perhaps for reasons related to the pandemic. He muttered, "It's like a third world country here." I said nothing. But I felt disgust.

My mind is unchanged about the out-of-staters who have flocked to New Mexico. Though perhaps the economy depends on them.

Things are never black and white.

But for the grace of god, there go I.

Kristen Schwartz


Darryl Dinkson

Augustin, I am sorry that you could only see the negative in this story. This was a successful rescue mission. There were lots of brave volunteers that risked their own safety to go looking for these ladies, and were able to rescue them without any lives being lost. What a great story! Hopefully one day you will be able to see the lighter side of things. By the way, those were real women with families that love them so you talk about them like they mean nothing, because they are not residents of New Mexico?? Instead of you hassling the brave women that set out on foot to see this beautiful country of OURS (not yours), maybe you need to ask yourself why your mind went to “why did they call search and rescue?” and “who is going to pay for this?” first.

At least these women are living their lives. Would you rather have these women sitting in a dark room behind a Computer trolling others?

Kathy Fish

Hope those dumb girls will pay for the man hours spent.

Jitty Bap

Girls bad men goood hurrrr hurrrrr *scratches hairy butt furiously*

Jason Evans

100 upvotes. These morons put the lives of well-intentioned S&R folks at peril. They should have to reimburse all expenses associated with the search, plus pay a $10,ooo penalty (not a tax deductible contribution) to the S&R organizations that got them out safely.

Jim Klukkert

Jason Evans- I would love to hear the response of SAR folks to your proposal. I believe you are well intended, but SAR folks do what they do, and I doubt they would support such a request/demand.

Heidi Kaldenberg

Hi Jason, I can appreciate your concern for the safety of SAR personnel... Technically each mission we respond to we are putting our own selves at volunteers no one forces us to go out and we have plenty of chances to opt out of each assignment. We do it because it is our pleasure to help those in need, regardless of errors in judgement that may or may not have contributed. Rescuees are typically extremely grateful and often do provide a donation as a thank you. Either way, it is a rewarding experience for us and of course we all hope there will be help available if one day it is us or a loved one that needs it! Peace to you ~

Kristen Schwartz

Wow. Kathy. You're comment says lot about you.

Darryl Dinkson


What a horrible thing to say! Did that make you feel better to say that? Did it add value and enrich anyone’s life? There will come a day when you make a mistake or you end up needing someone’s help, you better pray that the person on the other end, when you make that call for help, is not a “Kathy”!

Ann Maes

Kudos to our amazing volunteer S&R teams! The training to become a Search and Rescue Member is no easy task requiring many hours of training and personal commitment. Please consider a donation. The life they save may be yours!

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