The 44-year-old man was approximately 500 metres from the summit of Ingleborough when he became lost with minimal food and appropriate winter clothing.
He managed to call a friend before his phone battery died, and the Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation were then alerted.
It later turned out that he had become confused by the temporary diversion in place on Ingleborough while the main footpath is being repaired.
The CRO's incident report read: "A friend reported a solo Three Peaks walker ‘lost, cold, alone and disorientated' with minimum food and not appropriately dressed approximately 500m from the top of Ingleborough.
"The man’s car was identified in Horton in Ribblesdale and, with no further information to go on and no communication with him, the duty controller organised team members to begin searching different routes onto the hill. As the search was going on, the man returned to his car, found our note on his windscreen and connected his mobile phone, discovering the series of messages that had been left for him. An hour later, all vehicles and team members were back at base or at home.
"It seems that the man had been confused by the signs warning of the temporary diversion above Humphrey Bottom, so that by the time he had climbed the steepest part of the hill it was dark and with low cloud. His GPS battery died, followed by his mobile phone battery after he had phoned his friend.
"He had taken the wise precaution of carrying a spare battery pack but, unfortunately, had left the connecting lead at home. Although uncertain of where he was (probably Simon Fell), he did have a map and compass, so headed east until he found a wall to follow down into Ribblesdale, hitting the road near Selside. He then walked down the road to Horton, but after the CRO members had already driven the route, looking for him."