Hunters rescued after snow-storm stranding |

Hunters rescued after snow-storm stranding

Staff Report

Garfield County Search and Rescue has been busy plucking hunters from the Flat Tops during the past few days since the snow started falling on Monday.

The most recent mission, performed Thursday by a cooperative effort of the search and rescue team and the Colorado Division of Wildlife, helped retrieve 11 hunters from the Coffee Pot area of the Flat Tops.

“This is all one ongoing operation,” Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said Thursday.

The three hunting parties ” one from California, another from Fort Collins and the third from central Colorado ” were found and brought to a U.S. Forest Service cabin, Vallario said.

They became stuck after two to three feet of snow fell, making it impossible to drive back out of the wilderness.

At press time, the hunters and rescuers were getting ready to make the trek down to Glenwood Springs on six snowmobiles. The operation was expected to last until 9 p.m.

“Everybody’s in good shape. They all had tents and food, but they couldn’t get out,” Vallario said of the hunters.

On Wednesday evening, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office was notified that several hunters were stranded in two feet of snow in the same area north of Dotsero.

The rescue work began on Tuesday when the sheriff’s office was notified that two hunters failed to return to camp Monday night.

On Tuesday, those hunters were found safe and sound. They had built a lean-to and maintained a fire.

“Search and rescue has been doing a great job, and we’re proud of them,” Vallario said.

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