Hiker rescued in western NC mountains during snowstorm

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — (AP) — A man who planned to hike and camp along a trail in the mountains of western North Carolina had to be rescued after he became stranded during a storm that pummeled the area with snow and sleet.

The man was rescued Sunday on the popular Art Loeb Trail near the Shining Rock Wilderness area, Haywood County Search & Rescue said in a Facebook post.

The News & Observer reports that a team of six rescuers found the hiker mostly uninjured a few hours after the call came through.

“It sounds like mostly cold injuries, maybe some frost bite, that kind of thing,” Allison Richmond, spokesperson for Haywood County Emergency Services, told WLOS-TV. “That’s not unexpected in this kind of weather when you just can’t get warm. Once you get wet, things get really cold, really fast.”

Search & Rescue said the man realized as weather conditions deteriorated that it might be “more than he was prepared to handle.” Temperatures lingered just above freezing with a wind chill of 27 degrees when rescuers received a call about the stranded hiker Sunday morning.

Rescuers entered at the the Black Balsam trail head to search for the hiker using four-wheel drive trucks. But the team was halted by worsening weather conditions, Haywood County officials said. They were forced to continue on foot wearing snow shoes until they found the hiker.

“The hiker was in good spirits, despite the long night he just endured and was able to walk out on his own power alongside the team of rescuers,” Search & Rescue said. The hiker’s name was not released.

(WATCH BELOW: Some school districts cancel classes Tuesday due to dangerous road conditions)