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Woman survives 6 days, trapped in the Sierra…

…and sadly, her male companion did not.

Mountains can be unforgiving, especially in winter. says:

<Paula> Lane, of Gardnerville, Nev., and her companion, Roderick Clifton of Citrus Heights (Sacramento County), were driving west on Highways 88 and 89 in Alpine County on Nov. 29 when Clifton spotted a cross-country ski hut near Pickett’s Junction. He decided to pull off the highway to test out his Jeep Cherokee in the snow.

Clifton drove around a locked gate on a closed dirt road, and after driving a few miles became stuck in the mud. The next morning, Clifton decided to walk away from the Jeep and find help, ignoring Lane’s pleas to stay.

He later died in the snow, according to a spokesman for the Alpine County Sheriff’s Department. Undersheriff Robert Levy said that Lane later crawled past her companion’s dead body as she was trying to make it to safety!

On Saturday, Clifton’s family in Citrus Heights about the missing pair, and rescue workers began to search for the Jeep. Clifton did not return to the Jeep or find help. After three more days, Lane decided that she had to leave the Jeep and began to walk and crawl along the road toward the cross-country ski hut.

Knowing that his sister used to camp in the area, Lane’s brother Gary Lane began searching for the pair. He borrowed a front loader on Wednesday and began exploring the mountain road hoping he might find his sister and Clifton.

“Gary Lane drove up the road with the loader for several miles, where he found (his sister) distressed and crawling in the road,” Levy said. “Gary Lane loaded Paula Lane into the bucket of the loader and returned her to Highway 88.”

There he called rescuers, who began treating Paula Lane for hypothermia.

On Wednesday, search and rescue workers returned to the area to recover Clifton’s body

The couple did not have cellphone service in the remote area, and neither were dressed for the cold weather.

Levy offered the following advice with regard to a “stay or go” decision:fff

“It is a tough one,” he said. “Here’s the best advice: to not get yourself put in a position where you have to decide to stay or go. And if you do, it is a personal choice.”

Levy added, “It is not hard to put together a vehicle emergency kit. You can put it in a plastic tub from Walmart, for God’s sakes. I’ll always tell people that wool blankets are a godsend – they’ll keep you warm, they’ll give you traction if you put them under the tires and you can cut them up as a bandage.

“When people panic,” Levy said, “we know they don’t make good decisions.”

The time for rational thought is BEFORE heading to the mountains!

-Bill at

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