A 19-year-old from suburban Chicago who spent more than two days lost in the Swiss Alps during a ski trip says he crossed chest-deep streams, hiked up a ravine and used his Boy Scout skills to build a shelter out of snow to survive the ordeal.
In his hospital room, Mark Doose’s ski boots are a reminder of the harrowing two and a half days he spent lost in the frigid mountains outside of Zweisimmen.
The teen, a graduate of Hinsdale Central High School who is studying at the Swiss Federal Institute of technology, said he lost his way during white-out conditions.
“It started to snow a little bit harder, and so I decided to follow the pylons of one of the lifts down, because I figured that would go down to the base of the mountain,” he said. “But at some point, when I was following that path, I ended up in a ravine.”
Doose says he started hiking down the ravine, hoping it would lead him to safety.
“The snow was about up to my waist, and there were points where there were a lot of fresh snow that had just fallen, and it was pretty heavy snow, so it was difficult to hike through,” he said.
Doose hiked about two kilometers in the ravine, sleeping for only about two hours late Sunday night and early Monday morning.
“At one point, the ravine just came to a waterfall, so I couldn’t really go any further there, so I hiked up the embankment, probably 30 to 35 meters, with my skis,” he said.
He also says he crossed a number of rivers and streams, sometimes chest deep, all in temperatures that hovered just above zero.
“I wasn’t able to hike that fast, but I knew I had to keep moving in order to stay warm and keep from freezing, and especially after going through the water,” he said. “That was when I kept moving the most to try and keep my body temperature up.”
Doose says he used his Boy Scout skills, building a shelter out of the snow, to survive a second night in the mountains.
“Late at night there were a few times when I got pretty cold, and I was worried that it would be difficult to keep moving, but for the most part the whole time I just told myself that in order to stay alive I had to keep moving and keep hiking,” he said. “I really didn’t have any other option.”
More than 48 hours later, he came across a road, where he shouted out to three people who were able to call for help.
“When they first answered me, that was just incredible,” he said. “To have someone respond after not talking to anyone or having anyone hear me for almost two and a half days, that was pretty emotional.”
Doose was treated for mild hypothermia and a bruised toe.