Couple Survives 48 Hours Lost in Blizzard on Mountain

They suffered hypothermia, frostbite, but survived
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2016 1:52 PM CST
Couple Survives 48 Hours Lost in Blizzard on Mountain

Madison Popolizio, 19, and boyfriend Blake Alois, 20, set out Sunday for what was supposed to be a day hike in New York's Adirondack Mountains. The weather forecast was "partly cloudy," Popolizio tells the Daily Gazette. Then fog rolled in so thick they could barely see their hands in front of their faces, and they ended up lost for 48 hours in blizzard conditions near the top of Algonquin Peak, the state's second-highest mountain. At one point, they even lost their footing and began sliding down the mountain, Popolizio tells CBS News. "I was freezing. The fall pushed all of the snow up my jacket, into my gloves, in my boots. I was covered in snow." She says she owes her survival to Alois, who helped her keep her feet and legs warm with his bag when she started going numb and kept her going by talking to her about what their lives would be like once they got rescued.

After two days of searching, rescue crews finally located the couple on Tuesday, 265 feet below Algonquin's 5,115-foot summit, the Albany Times Union reports. Both were hallucinating by that point, but they knew the choppers they were hearing were real, and they started screaming, drawing rescuers to them. Frostbite left it difficult for Popolizio to walk, and chattering may have left her teeth fractured. Meanwhile, Alois may lose toes due to frostbite; he's still in the hospital. "We made an agreement early on when we got trapped that neither one of us could die," Popolizio tells CBS. "Because we couldn’t leave the other one alone. And after that death wasn’t an option for us. It just wasn’t." A GoFundMe campaign aims to help the couple with their medical bills, though they say they may donate any money raised to their rescuers. (Read more survival stories.)

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