Boarder rescued in Fish Creek drainage

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— A snowboarder who ventured into the Fish Creek drainage Sunday afternoon was rescued by Routt County Search and Rescue personnel later that evening.

The unidentified man, who is in his early 20s, was snowboarding with friends on Buffalo Pass, said Scott Havener, an incident commander for Search and Rescue. The man skied too far left of the trail and dropped into the Fish Creek drainage.

Search and Rescue was paged at about 6:15 p.m. Sunday, and a team of about 12 volunteers was dispatched to the area by 7:30 p.m., Havener said. Search and Rescue personnel split into three groups: a snowmobile team that searched the snowpacked Forest Service roads on Buffalo Pass for any sign of the man, a skier team that followed the missing man's tracks into the drainage, and a snowshoe team that hiked up the drainage.

The man was located at about 9:40 p.m. just 500 yards north of the Uranium Mine trail's intersection with the north fork of Fish Creek. He was very wet and very cold, Havener said.

Havener said the man's lack of preparation for backcountry survival and Sunday night's bitter cold weather made it imperative that he be found immediately. The man didn't have food, water, extra clothes, basic survival gear or a fire starter.

"We couldn't let anyone stay the night out," Havener said, adding that the incident serves as a reminder to all backcountry recreationists: "Be prepared, no matter what you're doing."

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