Harlan Earl was traveling from Grass Valley to Truckee on January 24 but never arrived at his destination. While 6-8 feet of snow fell on the mountains, search parties were out looking for him, retracing his route along Highway 49. As they were beginning to fear the worst, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from Earl.
The day after he set out, the big storm hit, closing several roads. He had to change course to Highway 49 because Interstate 80 was closed, and his GPS directed him to Henness Pass Road off Highway 49. However, Henness Pass Road is closed for the winter.
He eventually got stuck on Henness Pass Road and could not turn around. Thankfully Earl was prepared with winter clothing, a camper, and propane.
“He was very, very fortunate to have the experience and the equipment to survive out that time frame. Your normal person who did the same thing in their vehicle and got snowed in right before this storm, I think it’d be very rare for them to be able to as well for that length of time.”
– Nevada County Sheriff’s Office told FOX40
He hiked out from his truck camper on Sunday 31st January using snowboards strapped to his feet as snowshoes to obtain a cell signal and call 911. Using GPS from his phone, search and rescue teams were able to locate him.
Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, search and rescue team searched the area on a snowcat and were helped by a California Highway Patrol helicopter. The aircrew located him and was able to land, picking him up and taking him to hospital. He was in good condition and declined any treatment.