On Wednesday, February 02, 2022 at 7:08 p.m., a group of snowmobilers called the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch center to report that one of their group was lost on Hebgen Mountain, 14.45 miles northwest of West Yellowstone. Volunteers from Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone and deputies responded.
A Deputy made contact with the lost snowmobiler via cellphone and retrieved GPS coordinates. The snowmobiler was riding with no headlight and did not know the way out of the canyon. With no additional source of light for navigation, being unable to ride out of the steep canyon, and having no means to start a fire, the rider begin walking in the snowmobile track out of the canyon to meet volunteers.
Volunteers discovered that the snowmobiler had entered a canyon too difficult to negotiate by snowmobile. A team continued on foot to the stranded snowmobiler, descending 600 feet in elevation through deep snow and ultimately found the snowmobiler in good health. The volunteers were eventually able to make their way back to their snowmobiles in temperatures hovering around 14 below zero and escort the stranded snowmobiler to safety, taking 6 hours to do so.
Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind snowmobilers that you should always stay with your group. Carry survival equipment including a means to start a fire and a light source. Make sure portable devices are kept warm to preserve battery life.
Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.