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Search for Lost Hiker at Tamarack Ridge a Success

posted Mar 8, 2011, 2:56 PM by Richard Kebo
Thanks to all of the SAR team members that responded to this SAR.  We had an EXCEPTIONAL turnout of both members and equipment. Thanks also, to the two Good Samaritans that marked the PLS and were able to take SAR team members to possible tracks….this may not have had a good outcome had it not been for these efforts.

There were almost 20 SAR volunteers deployed.  Both the Communications trailer and snowmobile trailer arrived prior to most of the teams being deployed.  Art and Donald need to be commended for their fast efforts to brings these trailers.  

The missing person was a 40 year old male, that had been playing with friends in the snow-park.  When he was separated from his group and was convinced he was lost, it appears he followed the path of least resistance down a drainage towards Shaver Lake.

He was found alive in one of the tributaries that dumps into Shaver lake, about 4 miles down from the PLS.  He was cold and possibly suffered hypothermia from his adventure and numerous stream crossings, but was able to make it to the rendezvous point on his own.

Mission Accomplished!

First off, just as we were prepping our gear, it began to snow.  This got worse before getting better...  We deployed three hasty teams in the field, one to follow tracks, two to attempt to contain the search area and close in the subject.   My team deployed from highway 168 about two miles west of Tamarack ridge.  Our assignment was to head south and attempt to reach the subject, or search for tracks to assure he was still within our search area.

I thought just getting over the eight foot birm of snow on the side of 168 was going to be the hardest part.  Now it was blowing snow.  WET snow.  At one point, I thought that if the weather continued to get worse, we may have to consider getting shelter.

Then it cleared as quickly as it came in, continuing to rain and snow off and on for the duration.  The snow conditions and elevation changes, along with the rocky terrain and stream beds, came as a big challenge.

It was a long night, a night in which no one got much rest or stopped for a meal.  One team was on track, the others were making a bee-line to cut the subject off.  No time to pamper ourselves.

Not sleeping for more than 24 hours?
losing my water bottles and walking though ice cold rushing water?
Watching team members tripping on their snowshoes and graciously looking around to see if anyone noticed?
Getting PUMMELED with huge snowballs when finally arriving back at basecamp?
Seeing our growing team in action and doing what we train for?
Finding a lost subject ALIVE and knowing he will be able to once again play in the snow?

Yeah, you've heard it before, but it is:  Absolutely PRICELESS!  THANKS!

I hope all of you took the time to dry and clean your equipment and prep it for the next mission.  Our state of readiness and team size, coupled with our level of physical fitness and training, has gained us much respect.  SAR is a team effort, and we are a respectable and welcome resource.  

Thanks to all of you for making it happen!  Russ Richardson - Team Leader