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Dan Pearce (Single Dad Laughing) Has Dramatic Mountaintop Rescue

By cecilyk |

Box Elder Pass Trail: Photo courtesy of

By all appearances, it started out as a normal day hike, but it ended with a dramatic helicopter rescue for blogger Dan Pearce, known as Single Dad Laughing.

In a press release by Mr. Pearce, “The blogger was attempting to hike the rigorous Box Elder Pass when he and two friends deviated mistakenly onto an unmarked trail. The new trail took them six miles to the summit of Alpine’s East Mountain, more than 3,200 feet above the trailhead. East Mountain is rarely hiked and is known for its unfriendly terrain.”

According to REI, the regular hike without the trail deviation is pretty killer: 4,000 feet of rise over four miles. Going an additional 3,200 feet of rise would definitely tax even the most well-trained hiker.

Heat cramps, dehydration, and muscle spasms led to Mr. Pearce eventually passing out entirely, causing his hiking companions to call search and rescue to help get him off the mountain. It took almost three hours for them to arrive. More from the press release:

Search and Rescue informed the group that they were sending responders immediately and would decide what to do after they had arrived at the downed hiker. Nearly three hours passed before first responder David Lynton was able to reach the summit where Pearce was found lying in the shade. In a strange twist of events, Lynton was one of Pearce’s Boy Scout Leaders twenty years earlier. “That was the hardest hike I have ever done, and several other Search and Rescue members commented on its difficulty,” Lynton said of the trail they had to hike to reach Pearce.

Mr. Pearce is extremely grateful to those that worked so hard to rescue him.

“I have never been as overwhelmed as I was by the committed concern of strangers and loved ones while on that mountain. Nobody cared how I got into that predicament, they only cared about safely getting me out of it. I grew a deep love for a lot of complete strangers that day. And I learned a lot about what it means to be selfless.”

He’s only hinted at this story in his blog and is currently camping with his son Noah. We here at MomCrunch have a tip for his weekend camping trip – keep the hiking light, okay?

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About cecilyk



Cecily Kellogg writes all over the web, including here at Babble for Voices and Tech. She neglects her own blog, Uppercase Woman. Read bio and latest posts → Read Cecily's latest posts →

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19 thoughts on “Dan Pearce (Single Dad Laughing) Has Dramatic Mountaintop Rescue

  1. Liz says:

    Wait..I’m stuck on the part where a blogger writes and distributes his own press release about his own rescue complete with his own photos, and his own quotes (from himself) and then edits and distributes a video about it, all optimized for SEO.

    Forgive me, but is this for real?

  2. Jenn @therebelchick says:

    A little shameless self promotion, heh? Geeze!

  3. KLA says:

    Oh PLEASE. Goodbye, Babble.

  4. Tanis says:

    I have a money tree and a unicorn for sale. I figure the people who believe that press release are the ideal candidates to sell my items to. Maybe I’ll have Dan write the ad for me.

  5. Victoria says:

    I’ve got some swamp land in the Florida Keys, too….

  6. john cave osborne says:

    not to split hairs, but unless i’m missing sometihng, getting on the wrong trail that goes 3200 feet above the trailhead would not add an additional climb to a hike that goes 4000 feet above the trailhead. it would actually subract some vertical.

    i’m a pretty experienced hiker and have certainly completed similar hikes as well as many which were harder and many which were easier. but regardless of difficulty, mistakenly finding yourself on the wrong trail isn’t exactly something i’d wanna draw attention to (just the opposite, in fact) so i’m not as skeptical as it seems many are.

    regardless, no matter what hill you’re on, every hiker knows that you gotta carry your map, consult it often and reconcile it w/ things you’re experiencing (elevation gain, water sources, etc…). but most importantly you gotta respect the mountain. it sounds like he was in way over his head and is pretty lucky something worse didn’t happen.

  7. Julie Marsh says:

    Having recently taken my 10yo and 7yo to hike a 14er, this tale is fascinating to me. Let’s break it down.

    “rigorous Box Elder Pass” – well, that depends. The website linked to by REI notes that the trail is a Class 1, with a Class 2 route to the summit as well. It’s not mountaineering by any means. So I differ with the author’s characterization of “the regular hike without the trail deviation” as “pretty killer.”

    Further, if I read the press release correctly, Pearce’s group did not summit Box Elder Peak — instead they moved onto another trail. So the group did not in fact traverse 10+ miles and gain 7K+ feet in altitude.

    The trailhead for Box Elder is about 7K feet. No idea what the altitude of East Mountain is, but the press release states the summit is 3200 feet above the trailhead. There isn’t much information about East Mountain online. The best description I can find is that East Mountain is near Lambert Park, a popular area for mountain biking. So Pearce’s assertion that it’s known for its “unfriendly terrain” cannot be confirmed, but I’ll allow that if there’s no info about hiking trails, it’s probably “rarely hiked.” Which would account for the level of difficulty Pearce reports that his group and rescuers noted.

    Factual errors and omissions aside, let’s talk about the apparent lack of research and preparation of this group. Frankly, it’s stunning. Trail info for Box Elder Peak notes the distance, altitude gain, and estimated duration. PLAN ACCORDINGLY. Also, know your route. Study it. Study the accompanying photos so that you can recognize your surroundings (and hopefully realize when you’re heading off course onto an unmarked trail).

    Furthermore, this tale smacks of the same sort of melodrama and leaps of logic that Pearce has become known for. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt while being active – I wish more people would get out there and move! – but it’s bothersome that Pearce’s group didn’t prepare better so that they could have avoided these problems.

    Accidents happen, but this was a failure to plan. It’s akin to calling 911 because your house caught fire while you were lighting farts.

  8. Jason says:

    Came across this article while Googling “self-aggrandizing, not-too-bright blogger gets into trouble, costs Utah taxpayers thousands of dollars”.

    Dan had better hope that Utah isn’t a “pay-to-rescue” state.,8599,1892621,00.html

  9. JulieBouf says:

    For some reason, the entire time was reading exerpts from his press release I was penning my own in my head about how I will need to be rescued after passing out from hunger and cramps due to my treacherous ascension in the black abyss of weight watchers.

  10. Beta Dad says:

    The press release didn’t mention the anonymous email he got from a grizzly bear the next day, thanking him for saving his life.

  11. Doug French says:

    And now, after 40 years of deep-rooted homophobia, that bear is willing to accept his gay cub.

  12. Wendi Aarons says:

    “In a strange twist of events, Lynton was one of Pearce’s Boy Scout Leaders twenty years earlier.”

    Watch your motherf-in back, Spielberg.

  13. MLB says:

    Did anyone at Babble/MomCrunch contact the Search & Rescue personnel to verify the validity of the press release?

  14. Sheila says:

    I have never heard of this blogger (Single Dad Laughing) but after reading all these comments I guess he must have some kind of reputation. I agree it’s an odd article to include on MomCrunch but that doesn’t seem to explain everyone jumping in to make all these comments. So what’s the story?

  15. single dad barfing says:

    Where’s the disclosure that this fiction writer works for Babble, Ms. Kellogg? I guess that would explain the complete and total lack of a critical view of this story.

  16. Beta Dad says:

    @Doug–The grizzly’s brave response is making a big difference in the bear community.

    @Sheila–google “Single Dad Laughing” and any other term along the lines of “hoax” “fake” or “douche” and you will find answers to your question.

  17. Josette Plank says:

    You know what my 11 year old Girl Scout will tell you is the first rule of going out into the wild? Tell someone where you are going, when you will be back, be fully prepared and bring enough along to spend a night or two in an emergency. I absolutely detest when ego and hubris cause gung-ho types get in over their head, and then other people have to risk their lives to save them.

    I’d love if there were some sort of remedial outdoorsmanship course necessary after a foolhardy act like this, and community service time to pay for the man hours. Celebrating this kind of nincompoopery with a press release is, yes, shameless.

  18. Shandra says:

    More witty dad-blogger remarks on this post pls. I actually did LOL.

  19. Kim says:

    So wait a minute, after all these years of being myself and being honest blogging, all I have to do is make shit up, issue dramaticmself-serving press releases and get friendly with the mommy blogger of the moment website and I’ll be famous too?

    Well, darn. Nice to know.

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