Brendan Baker, 31, of Princeton, Minn., told the news station he was hiking alone on Longs Peak in Denver, Colo., when it started storming. Baker took refuge under a rock, but the lightning must have bounced off the rock and hit him, according to park rangers.
“I’m feeling fine. My hands are a little bit numb. My feet are a little bit numb. Otherwise, I’m okay,” Baker, 31, told reporters at St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver, where he was airlifted after being rescued from the 14,000-foot peak.
“A hail storm came through, so I laid down in the hail and rode it out. The skies cleared, so I kept on going,” Baker said. “I got up to the summit and about 15 minutes later the clouds rolled in. I felt my hair starting to stand up on end, and realized that I had to get underneath something or I would be in big trouble.”
With cloud-to-cloud lightning all around him, Baker took shelter under a rock outcropping to wait for the stormy weather to pass. Then, he blacked out.
“I just remember waking up the next morning. It was sunny out, maybe 7:30 (a.m.),” Baker said. “I had my hat on and I had no idea that anything had happened to my head.”
Baker began to walk down the mountain -thinking the worst he had endured was a bump on the head from a rock- when he ran into a group of hikers who helped him realize what had happened.
“I took my hat off when the guys were helping me down and that’s when one of them said ‘Have you seen your head?’ That’s when (I felt my head) and I could feel a big burn.”
Baker was then airlifted to St. Anthony’s Central Hospital and treated for his injuries which included a swollen face, numb hands, and burns to his feet, elbow and back. Doctors say it is still too early to determine the lingering health effects.
Does he regret hiking the mountain alone? Not one bit.
“I just would’ve gotten somebody else hurt.”