Newly reconstructed trails leading to the summit of Mount Elbert on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, near Leadville, Colorado. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)

LEADVILLE — A Colorado search and rescue team is urging people who are late in returning from the outdoors to answer their phones if they get repeated calls from an unknown number after spending hours looking for a hiker who never knew they were the subject of a search.

According to the Lake County team, it made multiple unsuccessful attempts to reach a person reported overdue from a hike on Mount Elbert on Oct. 18 on their cell phone, leading rescuers to launch a search that night.

Not long after rescuers resumed their search around daybreak the following day, the overdue hiker, who was not identified, was able to find their own way off the mountain, the state’s tallest, and drive back to their lodging, the team said in a Facebook post Thursday.

The person who reported the hiker overdue notified authorities.

The team said one takeaway was that the “subject ignored repeated phone calls from us because they didn’t recognize the number.” However, in response to questions from commenters, one team member acknowledged that it was not known if the hiker had the phone’s ringer and notifications turned off.

The member said the team also sent texts to the hiker.

The Associated Press