2 snowshoers rescued after night out
February 3, 1996
Steamboat Springs — Two men who planned to spend an afternoon snowshoeing near Fish creek Falls over the weekend stayed just a longer – all night.
Greg Van Winkle, 24, of Stafford, VA., and Aron Scott Kinney, 23, of Redford, Texas, started hiking into the Fish Creek Falls area at approximately 1 p.m. Saturday.
Although the pair had directions, they apparently got lost, according to the Routt County Sheriff's Office.
At about 6 p.m., Kinney, whose boots had gotten wet and froze, began to experience numbness in his feet.
Navigation was difficult in the dark and because of Kinney's condition, the two decided to stay the night on the edge of the cliff they had encountered.
Van Winkle took off Winkle's boots and cut off his pants. Kinney then placed his feet on Van Winkle's bare chest to try and warm them.
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When the feeling began to return, the two men used gloves as socks and wrapped the feet in a backpack before settling down for the night.
Sheriff investigator Paul Pirnat said Kinney was ill-equipped for the winter back-country, lacking adequate clothing. Neither men had water or fire starting material and their only food was a large Snicker's candy bar.
Early Sunday morning, Van Winkle left the makeshift camp to get help. He slid down a shute in the cliff face and eventually made it to a phone.
Routt County Search and Rescue was called into action at approximately 7:30 a.m. After the search and rescue team reached Kinney, they had to lower him down the cliff face. The team members then took turns pulling him up and down hills on a sled for about a mile until they reached their snowmobile. The rescue took about five hours.
Kinney, who suffered mild frostbite, was taken to Routt memorial Hospital where he was treated and released.
Pirnat said because the men lacked adequate equipment and clothing, the situation could have been worse.
"We want people to have fun," he said. "But we want them to be safe."