Skip to main site content.
Karen Klein in the hospital (NBC News)


Mom walks 26 freezing miles to save family

December 27, 2016

A 46-year-old mother who got stranded in her car, along with her husband and son, on a secluded, snowed-in road in Grand Canyon National Park set off on a heroic journey to get help for her family. After being detoured through forest service roads by their GPS and confronting heavy snowfall, the family tried to turn the car but got stuck in a ditch. Karen Klein decided to leave her husband Eric and their 10-year-old son to find the nearest highway and get help. That road had been closed for winter, however, and Klein, a triathlete who has taken wilderness survival classes, ended up walking through the wilderness for 30 hours and 26 freezing miles. Eventually, her husband decided to leave the car with his son, hiking to higher ground where he was able to get a cell phone signal and call for help. Some 45 hours after she had left, searchers found her inside a guard shack, barely conscious and suffering from exposure. Knowing that she was at risk of dying from hypothermia, she broke into the shack 6 hours earlier and covered herself in blankets. When she ran out of water and snacks, she survived by drinking her own urine and eating twigs. “What kept her going, she says, is she didn’t want her mother to bury her daughter. She didn’t want her son to be without a mother,” her sister told CNN. Klein is now in the hospital and might lose several toes due to frostbite, but she’s in good spirits and looking forward to celebrating her 47th birthday next week.

Read the full story at CNN.