A solo hiker took a nasty fall in Castlewood Canyon near Castle Rock on Christmas day.
With daylight fading and temperatures dropping, Clayton Adams made a call for help.
Search and rescue crews say the 20-year-old hiker is lucky to be alive.
"It was a white Christmas. I just thought it would be a good time to go out and enjoy nature. I loved it, you know? There's snow everywhere," Adams said.
The trails through Castlewood Canyon stay mostly untouched this time of year, which is exactly why Clayton came to hike alone.
He says he'll never do that again.
"I fell to my butt. Tried digging my heels into the ground to slow down. Until I reached the drop off," Adams said.
He dropped 40-feet in a matter of seconds.
It was serious trouble, even for a daredevil who skydives for fun.
"After 5 minutes I knew something didn't feel right. My foot was already swollen," Adams said.
You can barely get a cell phone signal in the canyon.
Had the hiker not been able to make that call for help, it would have a very long and very cold night.
"I was starting to get really cold. The pain was very unbearable," Adams said.
A few dropped calls later, Adams got a hold of rescuers.
By the time Carl Kline arrived, temperatures dropped dramatically.
"It was about 5 degrees when we got there. We were fighting darkness as well," Kline said.
Kline and Bruce Fosdick are volunteers for Douglas County Search & Rescue.
"I think we're all kind of adrenaline junkies. We like giving back to the community," Fosdick said.
19 volunteers left their families on Christmas, joining Franktown Firefighters and Douglas County Sheriff's Deputies.
Fosdick says others hikers should learn from Adams mistakes.
"He's gone out by himself. I always try to tell people go out in groups of 2 or 3. He had nothing with him. No water, bad footwear, he was in cotton clothing. For Winter time all those things add up to a big disaster," Fosdick said.
"He's lucky to be alive," Kline said.
Kline was among the first to repel 100 feet down to Adams.
"He was very relieved and very cold," Kline said.
Put onto a stretcher and carried out of the canyon, Adams was safe after 2-and-a-half hours.
They put in a great deal of effort to make sure I got in the ambulance and warmed up right away," Adams said.
He's grateful to be standing, with just a few broken toes.
He's grateful to be alive.
"They saved my life. If it wasn't for them, I don't know what would have happened," Adams said.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)