Snowmobile outing turns into ordeal for Silt duo
Post Independent Staff
SILT ” A short snowmobiling trip on the Flat Tops Friday extended into an involuntary overnight camp-out for Silt residents Travis Dunfee, 31, and Tammy Pimentel, 26.
The two were located Saturday morning, and were reported in good condition. Neither Dunfee nor Pimentel could be reached for comment Tuesday.
According to Lanny Grant of Garfield County Search and Rescue, Dunfee and Pimentel left the West Elk trailhead on County Road 245 northwest of New Castle at 3 p.m. Friday for what was to have been a short ride into the backcountry east of Meadow Lake.
However, the pair became disoriented when they got caught in a snowstorm, and one of their snowmobiles broke down.
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Grant said that with darkness approaching, Dunfee and Pimentel decided to build a fire and stay with their snowmobiles.
“They didn’t want to risk traveling back to the trailhead in the deteriorating weather and deep snow,” Grant said.
The two kept the fire going through the night, but had no food or water.
They were reported missing Saturday morning when they did not return home.
At daybreak, Dunfee and Pimentel abandoned the disabled snowmobile and rode double on the second snowmobile to the Meadow Lake campground, in hopes of being found.
“That was a very intelligent thing to do on their part,” said Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario.
Upon receiving news Saturday morning from Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority ” the county’s dispatch service ” that Dunfee and Pimentel were missing, five members of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team went to the West Elk trailhead to begin searching for the pair.
As the team prepared to leave the trailhead, dispatch received a cell phone call that the two had been found at Meadow Lake by another group of snowmobilers who were in the process of bringing them out.
Search and Rescue team members met the party near Triangle Park, and brought Dunfee and Pimentel back to their vehicle at the West Elk trailhead.
Although cold and tired, they were uninjured and grateful for being found, Grant said.
Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518
The Colorado Search and Rescue Board advises people venturing into the backcountry ” for a short trip or an overnight stay ” to always pack in the following:
1. First aid kit
2. Map and compass
3. Pocket knife
4. Matches and fire starter
5. Emergency shelter
7. Emergency food
8. Extra water
9. Extra clothing
11. A companion!
Source: Colorado Search and Rescue Board, http://www.coloradosarboard.org.
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