Local's story goes on air

'Mysteries' chronicles Charles Horton's brush with death

— Charles Horton's nine-day tale of survival in the Flat Tops Wilderness has a timeless message.

A 30-minute episode for the National Geographic Explorer cable TV channel was filmed in the summer to depict Horton's story. The show, "Mysteries of Survival," will be screened Wednesday by Greg Hughey, a Routt County Search and Rescue member who was involved in Horton's rescue mission.

What: "Mysteries of Survival," an Alpine Enrichment Program multimedia presentation.

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill

Cost: Free

Call: 870-4432

The screening is part of Colorado Mountain College's free Alpine Enrichment Pro--gram.

During Wednesday's program, Horton will answer questions and explain his perception of the dramatic elements of the show.

"Insights still seem to be unfolding a year later," Horton said this week. He is looking forward to sharing what he has to give back to the community after the immense support he said it has given him.

"Mostly, it's about showing people that the most important thing you can do is stay calm," Horton said. "It's not about how much survival gear you have with you. It's about what you know."

Horton, a Steamboat Springs resident, set out for a one-day cross-country ski trip in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area near Yampa last spring when he fell and broke his leg. He was unable to crawl back to his vehicle, and he spent the next eight nights in the backcountry with little water and food. The few friends who knew about his ski trip were out of town the week he was missing, so there was no one to report his disappearance.

Rescuers found Horton after a one-hour search when he blew an emergency whistle. He was taken to the hospital for a fractured knee, dehydration, frostbite and hypothermia.

Horton's story made national headlines, and the TV show will ensure his story lives on.

Hughey was impressed with the amount of research the Nat--ional Geographic Channel did in preparation for the episode. Hughey worked as a local scout and was part of the production crew during the July shoot on Buffalo Pass.

"Coming from a production end of it, I know what was entailed with making a documentary like that," Hughey said. But Horton will be able to explain what was lost on the cutting room floor.

Hughey thinks that Horton survived because he did not panic, he had a strong desire to live, and he carried and used a rescue whistle. These survival skills are an important message this time of year, Hughey said.

Janie Schwartz, coordinator of the Alpine Enrichment Pro--gram, thinks people get more cavalier in the spring. They think that because the big snow storms already have come and gone, so has the danger, Schwartz said.

It has been almost a year since Horton was rescued, and his message remains an important one.

"It's easier to get hurt than we think," Horton said.

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