Stranded snowmobilers spend night in backcountry


— Five snowmobilers were safe and in good spirits Wednesday morning after spending the night in the backcountry.

At about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Routt County Search and Rescue volunteers were notified of the stranded snowmobilers, who were visiting from the Front Range.

Incident Commander Chad Bowdre said they were experienced riders. Four of them got their sleds stuck while the other had a mechanical problem about 3/4 of a mile from Summit Lake on Buffalo Pass.

A SPOT satellite messenger activated by the snowmobilers gave rescuers their location.

"We knew right where they were," Bowdre said.

Bowdre was also able to communicate with the riders over cell phone, and he learned they were well prepared to spend the night, despite frigid temperatures that were in the low single digits in Steamboat Springs.

The decision was made to wait until Wednesday morning to rescue the riders. The avalanche danger is currently considerable, and getting to the riders required the rescuers to cross some significant slide paths.

The riders were able to build a fire, and they had space blankets, food and water.

Bowdre said the riders reported being happy and warm overnight.

"Family was worried in Denver," Bowdre said. "I definitely spent some time talking to them on the phone."

Six rescuers were on their way to help the riders at 8 a.m. and reached them at 9:05 a.m.

Rescuers helped the riders dig their sleds out and packed down the snow with snowshoes. Everyone was back at the Dry Lake trailhead by about noon.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.