STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, COLORADO – In the late hours of Thursday, December 28, 2023, the Routt County Search and Rescue (RCSAR) team successfully executed a non-injury rescue operation near the Elmo Mountain benchmark on Rabbit Ears Pass. The team, comprised entirely of volunteers, responded promptly to a distress call from a group of snowmobilers who found themselves in a precarious situation.
Despite the lack of injuries, the incident serves as a critical reminder of the unpredictability of outdoor adventures, especially in winter conditions. According to the RCSAR Facebook post, the snowmobilers were well-prepared, which significantly aided their rescue. Their readiness included carrying essential gear such as a satellite messenger, an FRS radio for two-way communication, ample food, water, extra warm layers, fire starters, and a saw.
Additionally, the group had informed someone of their plans and promptly contacted emergency services via 911 and an InReach device’s SOS feature when they realized they were in trouble. Their ability to maintain a fire for warmth and their positive mental attitude were pivotal in ensuring their safety until the RCSAR team reached them.
Lessons Learned and Safety Tips
This incident highlights several key lessons for outdoor enthusiasts:
- Preparation is Vital: Always carry the 10 Essentials and be prepared for unexpected changes in weather or plans.
- Communication is Key: Inform someone about your trip itinerary and carry devices for emergency communication.
- Mental Strength Matters: A positive attitude can be a significant factor in survival and effective self-rescue efforts.
- Safety Gear is Essential: Essentials like extra food, water, warm clothing, and fire-starting tools can be life-saving.
Supporting Search and Rescue Efforts
RCSAR’s successful operation underscores the importance of volunteer search and rescue teams. As a non-profit organization, RCSAR does not charge for its services, relying on community support to continue their vital work. The public is encouraged to support these heroic efforts by purchasing a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (COSAR) Card. The funds from COSAR Card sales go directly to reimbursing teams for costs incurred in rescue operations.
By purchasing a COSAR Card, you not only show your support for the brave volunteers who stand ready to assist adventurers in distress but also contribute to the safety and well-being of the outdoor community. Click here to learn more or buy a COSAR Card.