The Custer County Sheriff’s office received a 911 call at 08:54 on Thursday, August 27th, from a Dallas man, who said his 75 year old hiking partner had left camp on Wednesday morning at 07:30, to hike Humboldt Peak on his own. He did not return to camp that night. The reporting party (RP) hiked out of camp on Thursday morning, in order to obtain a cell phone signal to notify authorities.
CCSAR was alerted at 09:00 and a team of two CCSAR members working with Colorado Forensic Canines in the lower S. Colony drainage, was re-assigned to do a hasty search of Humboldt Peak. The reporting party (RP) indicated that the two had been packed into the area the prior weekend, by a local outfitter. A guide at Bear Basin Packtrips confirmed that the two were clients who had been dropped in the North Colony Basin.
A two person ATV team and 2nd two person ground team were deployed; the ATVs from the north and the ground team approaching the trail head from the south. CCSAR Ground Team 2 made initial contact with the RP and brought him to the Rainbow Trail where he was transported to Westcliffe. Ground Team 2 then began hiking to the party’s campsite. A horse team was also activated to aid in the search.
Additional resources from Saguache County and Western State Mountain Rescue Team (WSMRT) were requested, with ten members of WSMRT arriving at 16:00 hrs. Four additional CCSAR members were approaching from the S. Colony Basin, with the intention of crossing into the North Colony Basin via the saddle and beginning a search from the 4th lake downward, towards the campsite. Lifeguard 4 made an aerial search of the area when weather cleared and spotted the campsite, but not the subject, via the air search.
At 16:20, the Hasty Team made contact with the subject at his campsite. He reported that he had been caught in a rain and hail storm on Wednesday and during his descent. He also said that he had fallen a short distance and that he spent a chilly night out under a tree. The subject was able to get back to camp on his own on Thursday. He also had provisions to remain in camp. All teams were stood down at 16:33. The mission concluded at 21:45, when all members were back at quarters. In addition to 22 field personnel, an additional four staffed command and logistics roles at search base.
A similar situation occurred in Saguache County, Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday night. The SAGSAR mission was safely completed before midnight with two males being “text” guided off Kit Carson in the same storm while lost, including self-extrication and descent of the Spanish Creek drainage.