Two hikers are safe and sound after an alarming episode in the Maple Pass area.

The following information was gleaned from a press release issued by the Chelan County Sheriff's Office.

On Monday evening, Rivercom Dispatch received a 911 text concerning two hikers stranded at high altitudes. The hikers had lost their bearings near Rainy Pass on Hwy 20. This is a remote area abutting the northernmost reaches of Chelan County.

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Trail conditions were anything but favorable. The hikers were not only underdressed and underprepared; the sheer volume of snow rendered them functionally immobile.

"It sounds like they were new to the area," says Chief Ryan Moody. "They were new to that area and they also were ill-prepared. It sounds like they were pretty casual hikers in an area that wasn't for casual hikers."

"I'm not sure how they did it, but they ended up following the trail - they described it as being trapped between two snow drifts. They were on a trail stuck between two of those and they couldn't get past either of them." According to Moody, "snow drifts" are deposits of snow left over from the previous winter.

With help from Okanogan County Mountain Rescue, the Sheriff's Office was able to retrieve both hikers and bring them to safety. They were transported via helicopter to the Sheriff's Office parking lot.

The two hikers consented to an interview with Rick Balam of Okanogan County Search and Rescue. Both parties were understandably in a daze post-rescue. (They were also very cold.) But they sustained no injuries.

The Checklist for the New Hiker in Washington State

Please, do not go hiking in the evergreen state, or any state for that matter, without being FULLY prepared.

Gallery Credit: Aly

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