Summit County Rescue Group recovers stranded off-roaders and their dogs, assists in finding missing hiker

FRISCO — It’s been a busy couple of days for the Summit County Rescue Group, which helped rescue a stranded motorist and a lost hiker in the area’s backcountry this weekend.

At about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, the rescue group responded to a 911 call with limited location details, initially indicating a member of a four-wheel Jeep group was injured in the backcountry near Montezuma.

Multiple search and rescue teams were mobilized from the Peru Creek trailhead in Montezuma along with Flight For Life and an additional helicopter crew to obtain an aerial location to guide the search and rescue teams, according to Anna DeBattiste, a spokesperson with the rescue group.

The rescue team traveled on two ATVs and a utility task vehicle as far as they could into the vicinity of Santa Fe Peak and hiked the rest of the way on foot. The team located the stranded group with a stuck vehicle and discovered there were no injuries.

The stranded group — consisting of two men and two dogs from Denver and Colorado Springs — were preparing to hunker down and camp for the night when the rescue team discovered them. They were evacuated, and the mission was concluded at about 1:30 a.m.

Colorado 4×4 Rescue and Recovery, another all-volunteer organization, will be going out to recover the vehicle in the coming days.

Lost hiker

In addition to the Santa Fe Peak mission, the rescue group also was called in for a mutual aid response with Alpine Rescue out of Clear Creek County. At about 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, the Alpine Rescue Team responded to a call about a missing hiker near Grizzly Peak to the northeast of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area on the border between Summit and Clear Creek counties.

Backcountry essentials

• Navigation: map of the area, compass, GPS, extra batteries or charger
• Signaling: whistle, mirror, cellphone, surveyor tape
• Light source: headlamp, flashlight, extra batteries
• Nourishment: water, high-energy food for 24-48 hours
• Shelter: waterproof tarp, bivvy sack, parachute cord
• Fire building: waterproof matches or lighter, heat tabs, knife
• Personal aid: first-aid kit with medications, sunscreen, dark glasses, bug repellent
• Weather protection: extra socks, warm gloves, rain gear, hat, bug net
• Winter extras: avalanche beacon, probe, shovel with metal blade
• Rules to follow: never hike alone, always leave a schedule and trip plan with someone at home, stay on the trail, wait for search and rescue if you become lost

Paul Woodward, mission coordinator for the Alpine Rescue Team, said a 28-year-old woman went missing while hiking with two friends in the area. Woodward said one member of the group stayed on Grizzly Peak while the two others left to head to nearby Torreys Peak. The woman was separated from her friend in between the two peaks.

The Alpine Rescue Team called in the Summit County Rescue Group on ATVs and Flight For Life to assist in finding the woman. The search was called off at about 3 a.m. Monday, Sept. 30, and began again at 6:30 a.m.

The woman later told rescue workers that she was able to see lights from Flight For Life flying overhead at night but was unable to signal without a light source.

The woman hiked down to Chihuahua Lake, in the saddle between the two peaks, where she spent the night. Woodward said the woman was found quickly Monday morning after being spotted by Flight For Life. She was flown to Alpine Rescue’s command post near Bakerville.

Woodward said the woman was in good condition and was checked out by medical personnel before being released.

“I just want to give a huge shout out to Flight For Life for making that flight last night and for locating the woman this morning,” Woodward said. “And a huge shout out to the Summit County Rescue Group for their assistance.”

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