2017-01-09 4 Snowmobilers Stranded in Hotel Creek.

Around 5:30 pm, Sunday evening, Fremont County Search & Rescue’s Senior and Junior members responded to Yale Creek Road West of Island Park. Fremont County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a 911 call from 4 North Dakota snowmobilers who were stuck and unsure of their location. They informed dispatch they had a fire going and nobody was injured. The coordinates from their 911 call placed them in Hotel Creek about 2.6 miles north of the Yale Kilgore Road. The first search team attempted to drop in from the top like they had done on a search several years prior, but when they almost reached the top, they were engulfed by a blinding blizzard. The distance from their location and the stranded snowmobilers was around 1/4 mile, but winter conditions were so dangerous because widow makers hidden within the blizzard and the copious amounts dead fall, it wasn’t safe for any member to attempt snowshoeing cross country. The search team decided to rendezvous with the backup search team equipped with snowshoes. They headed back down the trail to where they previously smelled smoke and the weather conditions were more amicable. Once the two teams combined, a team of 3 members strapped on snowshoes and walked into the drainage. They located the 4 men at 10:07 pm. After the status report of the terrain, a couple of the search members broke trail snowmobiling into the snowshoe team and subjects. The decision was made to leave the stuck and broken down snowmobiles behind. The North Dakotans rode double on their 2 sleds back to Base Camp and then to their cabin.

2017-01-10 Stranded Motorist on Hwy 32

Around 5:00 p.m., Tuesday evening, Fremont County Sheriff’s Dispatch started receiving phone calls reporting people stuck on Highway 32 near Lamont. Due to heavy snowfall and blowing winds, Idaho Transportation Department closed Highway 32 to vehicle travel at 3:30 p.m. that afternoon. A deputy was sent to assess the situation and make a decision on how to get them out safely. Fremont County Search and Rescue Commander offered to assist the deputy in reaching the stuck vehicles. The weather was getting worse, and the Sheriff's department decided it was best to call out Search and Rescue for stranded individuals. Several four-wheel-drive vehicles, 8 snowmobiles, and a Snowcat were utilized on this rescue. In total there were 5 vehicles and 12 people stranded between Lamont and Bitch Creek within the road closed barricades. The Snowcat and snowmobiles responded into the closed area. Since snowmobiles are much faster than the Snowcat, they decided to transport stranded individuals from their cars to the Snowcat as it continued towards the stuck vehicles. Snow clothing was provided for individuals not adequately dressed for the snowmobile ride. These individuals were transported first, and after they were safe and warming up in the Snowcat, the snowmobile team went back for individuals who were dressed for winter. Subjects were from Ashton, Driggs, Saint Anthony, Rexburg, Idaho Falls, Fair Oaks California, and Saint Hubert Montréal, Canada. An ITD snow plow attempted to open one lane into Drummond to facilitate Fremont County Search and Rescue members driving their vehicles out. The snow had set up and become too deep and hard for the plow to reach them. There was concern that SAR vehicles would have to remain there until the road could be re-opened. Utilizing a plow on a lifted Suburban, the Commander was able to break through the drifts, and Search and Rescue members were able drive their four-wheel-drives from Drummond back to base camp on Highway 32. All subjects were taken to Ashton where they were able to make arrangements for place to stay, have someone pick them up there, or were given a ride home by Search and Rescue and the Fremont County Sheriff.

2017-01-21 5 Stranded Snowmobilers near Dry Creek.

Fremont County Search & Rescue (FCSAR) senior and junior units, responded to five stranded snowmobilers in the Dry Creek area North of Island Park, Saturday evening, at 5:52 PM. The snowmobilers from Mandan, North Dakota, ages ranging from late '20s to early '50s, were riding down Dry Creek Drainage when they came to a place they felt unsafe to descend. Daylight was nearly gone when they decided to call for help. Four gentlemen built a fire while the other one walked up the ridge to acquire cell service. Search teams encountered difficulty reaching the individuals because snow was deep and copious amounts of downfall making travel slow. Once the rescuers were within 300 yards, two members snowshoed into the stranded snowmobilers. When they reached the gentlemen, they found the men adequately dressed in clothing for riding and being outside in the cold and had a nice fire going. The snowmobilers were in reasonably good condition. Two other searchers snowmobiled back to base camp and loaded snowshoes and water before returning to where the snowmobile search team was waiting. The snowshoes and water were taken into the stranded snowmobilers. Everyone put on the snowshoes and traveled to the snowmobile staging area. From there, individuals doubled up on snowmobiles to ride back to base camp. Search and rescue members transported the five stranded snowmobilers to their motel rooms in West Yellowstone, Montana, arriving at 1:30 AM, Sunday morning.

Hopefully the weather and snow conditions are better when they decide to go back in for their snowmobiles.