Hunter lost 20 miles northwest of town; another rescued

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— Search efforts continued Monday night for a hunter missing for more than 36 hours in the Quaker Mountain area, 20 miles northwest of Steamboat Springs.

“He went out by himself, and never came back,” said Bill Keller, President of Routt County Search and Rescue. “With this weather, hopefully we find him up… he might be down.”

Keller received a call about the hunter just after midnight early Monday. The man, 48, was last seen Sunday at 7:30 a.m.

Search and Rescue did not release the name of the missing hunter,.

Two helicopters performed aerial sweeps of the area Monday, Keller said, while ground crews also worked.

Monday night, a crew of 33 used a Thiokol snow-grooming machine, dog teams, snow machines and hikers to continue the search, he said.

According to friends in the missing hunter’s camp, he carried good equipment such as fire starters. He comes from a cold climate, Keller said, and may therefore have a better chance of survival than others in a similar situation.

Furthermore, Search and Rescue has located missing people who escaped harm after much longer periods of being missing, Keller said.

But forecasts late yesterday indicated weather would worsen overnight, Keller said - and the terrain already has 18 to 24 inches of fresh snow.

The search took place amid other rescue efforts in the region.

Search and Rescue workers were exhausted after a simultaneous search ended at 2:30 p.m. Monday.

The other missing man, a Craig resident, also was first reported missing in the wee hours Monday morning - about ten minutes after the Quaker Mountain report was received.

The Craig man became lost near Sugarloaf Mountain, approximately 18 miles from Steamboat, Keller said.

Rescuers who found the Craig man were able to subsequently join the Quaker Mountain search.

Meanwhile, a search continued in Moffat County for another missing party, Keller said. In addition, Routt County Search and Rescue was advised of a missing man, later found unharmed, late Saturday afternoon near the edge of Rio Blanco County, Keller said.

“Statewide we’re getting a rash of these (missing-hunter reports) today,” Keller said.

Keller offered advice to people contemplating outdoor activity in current weather conditions.

“get a book, stay home and watch TV until the weather passes,” he said.

Major snowstorms that moved into the state Sunday have spurred the surge of searches.

Rabbit Ears Pass reportedly received three feet of snow Sunday night, and the pass was closed for several hours Monday morning.

Vail Pass reportedly was closed intermittently on Monday and officials at Vail Mountain announced that the ski area there would be open on Friday.

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