2016 SAR missions, a year in review | SkyHiNews.com
Greg Foley
Mountain Rescue

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2016 SAR missions, a year in review

Grand County Search and Rescue (GCSAR) has had about 40 callouts so far in 2016.

Some are standby or Incident Commander calls only and some of these are quickly resolved when the subjects self-rescue or the team is otherwise stood down.

About 30 callouts resulted in team members actually responding to an incident. More than 1400 volunteer hours have been invested in missions this year. This does not include time spent on training, administration, maintenance and public education. By end of year total team volunteer hours will exceed 6000 hours.

By my count, we saved eight lives this year and helped provide closure for three families who lost a loved one.

By my count, we saved eight lives this year and helped provide closure for three families who lost a loved one.

Summary of 2016 field missions.

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January 2 – A snowbiker was stranded in Ptarmigan Creek north of County Road 50. Team members snowshoed in with an extra pair of snowshoes and walked him out. 16 members, 67 hours.

February 2 – An out of state snowmobiler who was riding alone stuck his machine near Gravel Mountain on the Grand Lake trail system. He tried to walk out but became disoriented, wet and exhausted. Team members snowmobiled, and then snowshoed to the subject. He was able to walk out. 13 members, 79 hours.

February 9 – A 70-year-old woman who was snowshoeing near Granby Ranch separated from her party became disoriented after dark. GCSAR responded with several field teams and found the woman in the Fraser Canyon. She was returned to the trailhead before midnight. 16 members, 66 hours.

February 29 – A 37-year-old skier dislocated his hip after attempting a front flip near the top of the 90s in Current Creek. The subject, who was in extreme pain, was loaded into a litter and lowered about 400 vertical feet with ropes. 13 members, 44 hours.

March 6 – At 5:30 a.m. GCSAR helped the Winter Park Police Department search for a woman who went missing from a local tavern the previous night. She was found cold and injured by 7 a.m. 13 members, 20 hours.

March 10 – A 56-year-old Denver area man was snowshoeing near School of Mines Peak and became disoriented after dark. After crossing two dangerous avalanche chutes he became stranded above the fingers cliffs. A team of three was sent in on snowshoes and were able to navigate the steep terrain and evacuate the subject. 8 members, 38 hours.

April 13 – At 11:30 p.m. GCSAR was called to search for a missing/overdue hiker near the Trough Road. The subject had been at the Radium Hot Springs and became separated from his group as they were hiking out. Flight for Life did a night vision aerial search with no result. Six field and containment teams were in the field by 7:30 a.m. A short time later the subject was located when he answered his cell phone in Dillon. The subject had reached the road and flagged down a passing motorist. 10 members, 68 hours.

May 26 – Two subjects became disoriented, exhausted and snowbound on the Bill Miller Trail west of Highway 125. They had planned an easy two hour hike. Team members snowshoed in and assisted them to the trailhead. 13 members, 75 hours.

June 16 – A woman fell and injured her hip near the "steam donkey" on the south shore of Monarch Lake. A crew was sent in with a litter and wheel to evacuate her to the trailhead. 9 members, 43 hours.

June 18 – GCSAR assisted Clear Creek County in the search for a snowboarder who had been missing since the previous winter near the Henderson Mine. The search was unsuccessful. 6 members, 48 hours.

July 21-24 – A kayaker who was camping in the Upper Gore Canyon went missing in the middle of the night. A four-day search ensued, with the deceased subject finally being located by the Summit County Dive Team. 29 members, 234 hours

August 2 – GCSAR was contacted to search for a missing guest at the C Lazy U. After an all-day search the subject showed up at the family's cabin. 13 members, 95 hours.

August 11 – GCSAR was requested to help recover the body of a kayaker who had drowned near Pumphouse on the Colorado River. 9 members, 33 hours.

August 14 – Second mutual aid search in Clear Creek County for missing snowboarder. The remains were found at the bottom of an avalanche chute. 5 members, 65 hours.

September 7 – A local woman mountain biker suffered back and neck injuries on the Broken Thumb Trail. She was carried by litter to an ambulance. 12 members, 26 hours.

September 9 – A woman fell and injured her hip near Bottle Peak. She was also hypothermic, so Flight for Life was requested to evacuate the patient. 8 members, 32 hours

September 22 – A hiker became disoriented and spent two nights in the Byers Peak Wilderness. He finally called 911. GCSAR initiated a search of the high probability area and found the man who was dehydrated and exhausted. 14 members, 53 hours.

Additional missions, shortened

February 27 – Two Denver snowmobilers got both of their machines stuck north of Meadow Creek Reservoir. They spent five hours trying to dig out before calling 911. Team members snowshoed in to their location and assisted them to the main trail. 7 members, 35 hours.

March 13 – A woman snowmobiler "T-boned" her husband in Church's Park, resulting in a broken leg. GCSAR members responded to the Country Road 50 trailhead but before they could enter the field Flight for Life was able to land near the patient. 9 members, 20 hours.

July 16 – A diabetic woman hiker was reported overdue at the "red gate" in the Meadowridge area. A hasty team on mountain bikes was in the field and a full-scale search was being wound up when the woman was found outside the Jazz Festival. 9 members, 10 hours.

Greg Foley is a member of Grand County Search and Rescue and has been a mountain rescue volunteer for 36 years. He can be reached by email at greg.foley@grandcountysar.com. The GCSAR website can be found at grandcountySAR.com or on Facebook/GCSAR.