MOUNT LEMMON, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - He spent three and a half---almost four days lost in the woods on Mount Lemmon, in some of the coldest nights we've had since last winter.
But now 66 year old Ronald Hutter is safe.
The search began with a lunch date that did not happen. The friend arrived. Lunch time arrived. Ronald Hutter did not; and the search was on.
Searchers found Hutter's car parked near Milepost 17, packed with the camping gear that could have protected him.
Gary Geisler said leaving the gear is something his old friend just would not do.
“I'll go out there with a fanny pack, we're doing a day hike, I'm like, 'Come on Ron, I got a couple water bottles, a day pack, a small pack. You go thirty pounds on your back’".
Friends, and Search and Rescue left notes on the car and pushed into their search.
Hutter intended to hike the Upper Green Mountain Trail. It's a short trail but it's challenging. It goes as high as seven thousand feet. That can make it a cold place to be in Arizona in November and Hutter set fires to help him survive.
In the time Hutter was lost, a Mount Lemmon weather station at an altitude of about 7500 feet showed temperatures peaking at about 68 degrees in the day but plunging near freezing--37 degrees at night. Winds sometimes gusted over 20 miles per hour.
The searchers pressed on with no luck until Ronald Sutter made his own luck and got to a spot where someone not even part of the search found him.
It was six o'clock, another cold night was closing in when a driver on this road right here near Palisade saw Mister Hutter, pick him up, took him to Sheriff's Deputies and they arranged to get him to the hospital.
And now he is recovering from three nights on the mountain.