Thursday, June 28, 2012

La Plata County Search and Rescue Looks For Lost Mountain Biker

Tuesday night, a mountain biker failed to return from a solo ride in Hermosa. The 31y.o. experienced cyclist planned to ride Jones Ck to Pinkerton-Flagstaff Tr to Dutch Ck Tr and back out Hermosa Ck Tr. La Plata County SAR was notified late that night that he had not returned as planned. The weather was somewhat thundering and wet but warm enough for staying out. Overnight, his car at the South Hermosa Ck Trailhead was checked and crews were organized. 
Teams left on the trail shortly after 7:AM Wednesday morning. Two pair of bikes made a quick sweep of the most likely areas. By 11:00 Hermosa Ck Tr, Jones, Pinkerton, Dutch, Elbert Ck Rd, and Little Elk were swept, but teams had found no sign. Mountain Bike teams, Horse teams and foot crews re-traversed the most likely trails and expanded into Goulding, Elbert and Big Lick trails. All trails on the West side of Hermosa Ck were covered. Once a helicopter was freed from dropping water buckets on fires, two SAR members were flown through likely drainages in the hour of light left on the mountain. They found nothing. By about 8:PM all 20 people in our search crews were out of the field. 
SAR coordinators began putting a plan together for another day of searching. We planned to comb his intended path in case of an off trail accident and search the drainages known to draw in lost souls. 
Years of experience has told us that if a person misses the Dutch Ck turnoff on the Pinkerton trail, they are likely to drop into Little Elk or even Elk Ck. By following cow trails, de-commissioned pack trails, old roads and other features; people are drawn deeper westward into tighter canyons. 
Our subject did exactly that, taking over 16 hours to cow trail and bushwhack down through Elk Ck to Hermosa Ck Tr. He was able to exit on his own at about 9:30 PM 

We were all very glad to hear him out safe. Thanks to all the friends and volunteers who gave up their daily life and helped yesterday. 

When you go into the woods, even just a little PLEASE take a good map showing trails and contours. In Hermosa, all real trails are marked by a 6x6 steel post showing coordinates, trail name and what they are open to. Watch for false trails!

When you go into the woods, even just a little PLEASE have a current CORSAR card [Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search And Rescue Card] or a current outdoors license that pays into the fund (hunting, fishing, OHV registration) . The volunteers depend on funds in the CORSAR to fund training and equipment and the County Sheriff depends on the fund to reimburse for extra expenses like the helicopter to come find you. 

It's easy and hardly cost a thing to maintain all the SAR volunteers in the State. Head to your nearest outdoor shop or go to:

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