Missing hiker speaks out about her ordeal

June 29, 2008 12:48:36 PM PDT
A missing North Carolina hiker stranded for days in the California Mountains is finally home, after surviving below freezing temperatures in dangerous terrain with no food or water. Patti Giomani flew back to the Triangle Thursday night and granted Eyewitness News the first interview with reporter Amanda Fitzpatrick.

"The storm cell wasn't supposed to arrive until the following night," Patti Giamoni said as she picked through photos of the northern California Mountains.

Giamoni, smiled as she was ready to take on the mountain, unaware the mountain would try to take her on. "A hundred mile hours of wind took us I started to fly he grabbed me from there we became disoriented and could not see," Giamoni said.

They ended up in what she called "no man's land" - not listed on a tourist map because it's too dangerous to travel. "Animals don't live there, people don't go there," Giamoni explained.

Patricia Giamoni and friend Salvador Frias were 14,000-feet in the air they had to find a way down. "We ice picked our way across the glacier with our clamp ons," Giamoni said as she showed us her swollen and bruised ankles. "You had the sand and the pebbles hitting you. There was snow and there was ice."

Giomani says she read the book "Into the Wild" before she went in to the wild, but it was her desire to see her sons again that brought her back to safety. "They were what pushed me down the mountain of course them, God first and foremost they pushed me down the mountain."

They also pushed to get help. When her son Frankie called, a panicked Pattie screamed their coordinates, but he says it wasn't enough, "I got the coordinates and I wrote them down on this envelope right when she said west it cut off," Frankie explained.

Three-days later they walked onto the shipping docks of Roseburg Forest Products Co. in Weed, CA. Weed is just outside the boundaries of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, which includes Mount Shasta.

The hikers were taken to Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta, where they were evaluated and then released.

Now back in her home in Apex, Giomani says she's thankful for every moment. "You look at the world through different eyes, you don't complain you can hear people complain and you think you have no idea. Just everything around me, I'm just very thankful very thankful."


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