A search and rescue team located a hiker in distress early on Nov. 9, 2023, in Colorado.

Colorado hiker wearing only a cotton hoodie is rescued after hours in a severe snowstorm

A hiker wearing only a cotton hoodie was found “alive but very hypothermic” after having spent seven hours in a severe snowstorm without food or water in the Colorado Rockies, officials said.

The hiker, whose name and age were not released, was trying to summit a 13,000-foot ridge near Mount Princeton on Wednesday when dangerous weather moved in, Chaffee County Search and Rescue North said in a statement on its Facebook page. The “unprepared” hiker had no way to stay warm, the statement said.

“With darkness approaching and hypothermia setting in the individual decided, rather than take the same way down, the best plan was to bail down an avalanche chute to try to get to a road,” officials said.

The hiker had a phone, but authorities could not obtain GPS information from it after they learned about the situation at about 7 p.m., the statement said. A 25-person team was sent out, knowing only that the hiker was in an avalanche chute east of Cottonwood Lake.

The search and rescue team descends with a distressed hiker.The search-and-rescue team descends with a distressed hiker.Chaffee County Search and Rescue North

The team spotted what appeared to be footprints in around 6 to 8 inches of snow and followed them until they came upon what they thought was “an unusual looking rock” at 2 a.m., according to the statement.

“Upon further investigation it was determined it was not a rock but the subject sitting upright in a fetal position covered in snow,” officials said.

The team spent three hours warming up the hiker before they got down a steep gully at 5 a.m. Ropes were used to lower the hiker one section at a time before they told the rescue team that they could help. The hiker walked the remaining distance to a waiting ambulance at 7 a.m.

Read More:   Idaho cannot enforce gender-affirming care ban, judge rules

Photos of the 12-hour rescue operation posted on Facebook showed the hiker wrapped up in plastic to conserve heat while being pulled down the mountain on a sledge.

Another hiker vanished in the Rocky Mountains in September. Chad Pallansch, 49, of Fort Collins, Colorado, was last heard from on Sept. 27, when a text message indicated he was almost to the summit of Mount Alice in Rocky Mountain National Park.

In July, Colorado authorities found the decomposed bodies of three hikers who may have been missing since the winter.

In the Facebook post about last week’s incident, the Chaffee County Search and Rescue North team included a list of “10 Essentials” that people should take to help them endure minor injuries, sudden weather changes or unexpected delays. The National Park Service, which compiled the list, recommends packing navigational tools, first aid, food and water to assist in emergencies.

“While you may not plan to be out in inclement weather the 10 essentials are essential in helping to keep you alive,” the team said in the post.

CORRECTION (Nov. 13, 2023, 10 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the name of the county whose rescue agency located the hiker. It is Chaffee County, Colorado, not Chafee.

Natalie Kainz

Natalie Kainz is a news associate for NBC News.