California 17-Year-Old Survives 30 Hours in Freezing Cold Utah Mountains Using Cell Phone to Stay Awake

The teen dug a cave under a tree to keep warm and used his phone alarm not to lose consciousness.
Loukia Papadopoulos

A 17-year-old managed to survive nearly 30 hours in freezing cold weather in Utah, reported CNN. California teenager Nicolas Stacy-Alcantara was visiting an ex-girlfriend in Utah when he decided to go for a hike.


A gradual change

Although there was snow that day, it was at first fairly mild so Stacy-Alcantara continued to hike. But slowly as the day went on, things started to change.

"It was gradual. ... I noticed the snow was getting deeper and deeper as I was hiking," he said to CNN. When his feet started feeling frozen, he knew it was time to stop.

It was around that time that he realized he would be stuck outside for the night. He sought shelter under a tree, digging a cave underneath it.

In those situations, there are two grave dangers: hypothermia and losing consciousness. To fight both of these Stacy-Alcantara tapped his hands to his chest and set 30-minute alarms on his phone to keep him awake.

"There were times in the night I nodded off, but I was pretty much awake the whole time," the teen told CNN.

When he was about to lose hope, a bracelet given to him by his ex reminded him that people cared for him and he had to fight.

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Finally saved

In the morning, he started his hike again and was spotted by some skiers. He was then taken to the hospital.

Despite the whole ordeal, Stacy-Alcantara only suffered a bit of hypothermia and frostbite on his feet, both conditions he is expected to make a full recovery from.

Initially, the teen was worried he might have to lose his feet but luckily that was not the case. 

"I get to keep my toes," Stacy-Alcantara told CNN. "I'm in a lot of pain but I'm just happy to be alive."