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Lost in the snow, Shoreline man survives 30 hours in the mountains

Wally Fosmore of Shoreline survived 30 hours lost in the snow. (Photo: KOMO News)

SHORELINE, Wash. -- Wally Fosmore, a former search and rescue volunteer, has kept a card in his wallet for almost 30 years. It's a list of the 10 essentials to survive in the wilderness.

It turns out, the 10 essentials work.

On Tuesday, Fosmore was snowshoeing near Leavenworth when the wild turned unpredictable. He would spend 30 hours alone on the snow as temperatures dropped into the 20s. He would have to hike through snow almost as deep as he is tall and repeatedly cross a dangerous creek.

He emerged a little beaten up but he survived, thanks to what he carried in his pack.

"A snow squall blew in and visibility went to zero," he recalled. "And I made a wrong turn in the snow storm."

Darkness fell. Fosmore used a headlamp to follow Chiwaukum Creek, searching for shelter.

He found it between two fallen trees.

"I had, in all respects, the perfect emergency bivouac -- a perfect situation."

He started a fire and hunkered down.

"So my main job was to keep this tiny fire going," he recalled. "There was wind and snow blowing in, but I was relatively protected."

After the sun came up, he hiked out. He got a cell phone signal and called his son.

"The only momentary panic is when I had gone through some weak snow holes," he said.

At times, Fosmore hiked through snow up to his arm pits. He crossed a creek at least seven times.

"That was one of the more treacherous things I had to do because you're crossing a white-water creek over snow bridges."

Search and rescue crews dropped food and water -- and instructions on where he should go.

He listened for the snowmobiles. Then used his whistle so rescuers could find him.

And he still has that list of 10 essentials.

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