Man Gets Hypothermia Hiking Snow-Covered Mountain In Shorts, Trying To Score Free Pizza

Image courtesy of Coconino National Forest

If a pizza place is offering free food to people who can hike or bike their way up a snow-covered mountain, you have to ask yourself: Is the pizza really free? And if you’re one Arizona man who had to be rescued while trying to cash in on this promotion, you’re probably wondering: Why did I wear shorts?

Rescuers with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit responded to a report on Tuesday that a hypothermic male was stuck on the top of Mount Elden, where a late spring storm had dumped three to five inches of snow on the ground. The sheriff’s office called ahead to a U.S. Forest Service lookout tower, and a staffer was able to get to the hiker and help him to shelter while they waited for search and rescue.

By the time rescuers showed up at the tower, the man was “improving” and warming up, the sheriff’s office said. The scantily-clad hiker said he’d planned to hike to the top of the mountain in order to earn a free pizza as part of a local restaurant’s promotion:

The pizza place’s offer is simple enough, though we’re not quite sure it’s worth the effort: Arrive at a certain point on Mount Elden by 8:30 a.m. and get a coupon for a free pizza at the restaurant later that day.

This hiker either didn’t realize what weather conditions would be like when he set out, or perhaps thought he could just get away with wearing shorts and other light clothing, the search and rescue unit noted.

The owner of the pizzeria told KPNX-TV that it wasn’t his intention for anyone to get stuck climbing a mountain in the quest for free food.

“We never want anyone to risk their life for pizza. It’s certainly not worth it,” he told the station, adding that he’d hoped people would check the weather and be more prepared.

After warming up, the man caught a ride home with his friends, who he’d also reached out to while he was stuck in the snow thinking about the decisions he made that got him there.