Snowmobile rescue 4th in 16 days
March 31, 1994
Steamboat Springs — A Steamboat was brought to safety early Monday after his machine broke down near the back side of Mt. Werner. It was the fourth call for Routt County Search & Rescue in 16 days.
Mike Quinn was fine but cold when rescuers found him soon after midnight in the "Toutes" area. Search and Rescue members Ken Simpson and John Witte built a fire to warm Quinn, then took him up the mountain to a waiting Steamboat Ski Area snow cat, which brought Quinn back to civilization.
Ironically, one of Quinn's rescuers had invited Quinn to go snowmobiling earlier that same day. Simpson said Quinn was to go touring with him, but instead decided do go elsewhere.
Quinn was snowmobiling with another Steamboat resident, Ken Copp, when his machine started acting up and he couldn't get up the steep surrounding hillsides, related Simpson. Then he ran out of gas.
Copp went to get help, taking what little survival gear the two men had. Copp was temporarily lost trying to head to Buffalo Pass, ending up on the road near Dumont Lake on Rabbit Ears Pass, said rescuers. Copp called Search & Rescue about 9 p.m. Sunday.
Quinn had tried to start a fire with gas from his snowmobile, but there wasn't enough, said Simpson. Quinn was slightly dehydrated and his foot was numb when his rescuers found him.
"he would have had frostbite by the next morning, because his boots were frozen," said Witte.
"it's pretty steep country down there, and it's tough to get out if you don't know the way out," Witte added. Plus, "cliffs there can sneak up on you right away, and then it's too late,"
"We like to get practice, but we also like to sleep," said Witte. "Every time we get caught up (on our sleep) we lose it again." Simpson was especially tired Monday since he had snowmobiled all day before being called to the rescue.
But Simpson, Witte and other crew members are thankful that all four rescues have had happy endings. No one was hurt.