At 8:55 pm on Wednesday night Custer County Search and Rescue was notified that a father, 49, and his son, 15, had not returned from climbing Broken Hand Pass and the Needle. They were expected back in Salida at 18:00 where the family was vacationing. CCSAR immediately dispatched a team to check on the subject’s car which was reported to be parked at the new parking lot just 3/10th of a mile above the Rainbow Trail. The vehicle was located at 23:00.
At 05:00 on Thursday twenty members of CCSAR were being dispatched to check the Needle area along with side trails and the Lower and Upper South Colony Lakes area.
Search base was notified at 07:00 by the subject’s spouse that he had made contact with her. The subject and son had in fact climbed the Needle the previous day. When thick fog came into the area in the afternoon the subjects became confused and made wrong choices. They found themselves on the opposite side of the pass and headed down Cottonwood Creek Trail toward Crestone where they hunkered down until daybreak. At 07:00 they made contact with locals at the Cottonwood Creek Trailhead, Although cold and tired the day climbers had no injuries.