A teenage girl who achieved her goal of hiking all 48 mountain peaks in a US state before turning 20 years old was found frozen to death on a trail.
Emily Sotelo, 19, went hiking alone last Sunday morning and did not return when her family was expecting her. The body of Sotelo, whose 20th birthday was this week, was found Wednesday on the northwest side of New Hampshire’s Mount Lafayette.
Rescue workers recovered her body after a three-day search in freezing temperatures. Her friends who paid tribute to her said she achieved her walking goal but met a tragic end.
“She reached all three peaks she wanted to and unfortunately on the descent she missed the turn which is hard to find on a windy day or just in general,” her hiking friend Brian Garvey said, according to the Daily Mail.
“This has happened before in the exact same area where she went off track in 2021.
“Luckily those guys saved it by defrosting their cell phones under their armpits and SAR (search and rescue) found them before they froze.”
Sotelo’s mother dropped her off at a trail at Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia. She planned to climb Mount Lafayette, Haystack and Flume in the White Mountains, police said.
Search and rescue teams started looking for Sotelo on Sunday night, when the temperature on the ridge fell to about zero degrees.
“Due to the harsh weather conditions, a search was started on Sunday evening and through the night,” said the Fish and Game Enforcement Department and Operation Game Thief on Wednesday. ‘Seekers were hampered by strong winds, cold temperatures and drifting snow.’
On Tuesday, searchers found tracks and some of Sotelo’s belongings at the headwaters in Lafayette Brook. They discovered her body Wednesday morning. Her cause of death has not yet been released.
A hiker who knew Sotelo, Jessie Callaghan, described her as “sweet and so happy to be in the woods.”
“She was young and ready to take on anything,” Callaghan wrote on Facebook.
Contact our news team by emailing [email protected]
For more stories like this, check our news page.