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Disoriented Hiker Found on Mount Tam

Hiker, 28, called the Marin County Sheriff's Office early Tuesday morning to report being lost; he was found three hours later along the Coastal Trail near the Pantoll Campground.

A 28-year-old hiker who became disoriented and spent a cold night lost on Mt. Tamalpais was found this morning with the help of a cellphone, Marin County sheriff's officials said.

The hiker called the sheriff's office on his phone around 7:50 a.m. to report that he was disoriented but not injured, Sgt. Mark Hale said.

The GPS pinpointed his location as an area along the Coastal Trail near the Rock Spring trailhead. Sheriff's patrol deputies were in phone contact with the hiker throughout the morning, and he was located around 11 a.m., Hale said.

He had suffered mild hypothermia and was evaluated by paramedics but did not need to be hospitalized, said Michael St. John, a battalion chief with the Mill Valley Fire Department and a unit leader with the Marin County sheriff's search-and-rescue team.

The man told rescuers he had left for a backpacking trip on Sunday and had been hiking in pleasant weather on Monday afternoon. Later on, however, it started raining heavily and there were winds of more than 40 mph, with temperatures in the 30s, St. John said.

The man wears glasses and when the weather turned sour he wasn't able to see well and couldn't find his pack, which contained his cellphone, according to St. John.

"He spent the night out separated from his backpack," St. John said.

When it got light out, he located his pack, found his phone and called for help.

"When he was located, the visibility was less than 100 feet," St. John said.

The rescue effort included three deputies, several park rangers and about a dozen members of the search-and-rescue team.

--Bay City News Service

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