Hiker Claims She Was Stranded by Hiking Group High Up on Mountain Trail

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images)

A Vancouver woman claims she was left in a dangerous situation high up Mount Baker. She says she was left alone because she couldn’t keep up with an online hiking group. Search and rescue groups say this isn’t the first time a similar situation has occurred.

Jade Santucci admits she’s not a strong hiker. She says she should have done more research on the route. However, an online social group had indicated the hike was intermediate level. She decided to try it and she carpooled with others to Mount Baker in Washington last weekend.

“What I should have done, in hindsight, is I should have had a conversation with the organizer before leaving and maybe asked more questions and maybe got a better idea of exactly how long the hike was going to take and what we’d be doing. I just kind of went for it and put my faith in the organizer,” she told CityNews.

The group left the trailhead and Santucci says she was fine at first. However, she started falling behind after lunch. She claims that no one stayed back to make sure she was okay.

She then realized she was losing the group completely.

“There was no checking in with me. It was kind of like every man for themselves and was just not what I thought it would be.”

Eventually, Santucci says she reached the top.

Hiker Recalls Being Stranded on Mount Baker Trail

“By that time I’m so sore, I have three blisters and I thought my toenail was going to fall off. I was so tired and I had no one.”

That’s when she spotted the group descending from above. However, she decided she would try to push on and see the glacier.

“As the group’s coming down, I’m climbing up, and you’d think the organizer would say ‘Jade, don’t bother, just come with us.’ She didn’t. She didn’t say boo and the group just kept going down the mountain.”

Santucci admits she should’ve turned around. She reveals that once she got to the glacier, she started to panic.

“It hit me, I shouldn’t have done this,” she says. “I lost my bearing while taking pictures. Thank god I saw this couple and their dog and they helped me get back to the trail. I was crying, I had a full blown panic attack, and I’m like ‘they left me they left me!’”

She says she eventually made it back down the trail and confronted the group.

“I talked to the organizer and said what she did was extremely dangerous. I didn’t get an apology, she justified it … she can’t keep track of everybody.”

Santucci says she was questioned about her experience and ability afterward.

Coquitlam Search and Rescue’s Ian MacDonald says scenarios are common for search and rescue teams.

“I don’t know who first said it, but no man or woman gets left behind. If someone is a slow hiker, is having issues or is injured, you don’t leave them behind and continue on, hoping for the best for that person. You stay with them, and if that means calling off the hike, you call off the hike.”