2021 Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue Annual Report

Sheriff Dan Springer and Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue has released the 2021 Annual Report.  The 2021 Annual Report contains statistics for missions and training.  Multiple missions are highlighted with applicable safety tips.  Many photographs and videos are included to provide a glimpse of our volunteers in action.

Sheriff Springer would like to thank all Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue volunteers for their dedication and professionalism as well as our community for your support.

2021 Annual Report 

1.17.2022 Ousel Falls Rescue

On Sunday January 17, 2022, at approximately 4:13 pm, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue-Big Sky Section, along with Big Sky Fire Department, responded to an assistance request from a hiker that had an injury on Ousel Falls Trail. The patient, who was out on a day hike with family, fell down injuring an ankle and was unable to walk to the trailhead. Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue members used a one-wheel litter to transport the patient safely to the trailhead where Big Sky Fire Department was staged for further medical assessment.

Sheriff Springer would like to remind everyone recreating outdoors that accidents can happen on familiar trails when you least expect it.  Recreating with a partner and having a means of communication can make the difference should you need to call for help.

1.14.2022 Lionhead Trail Snowmobile Rescue

On Friday January 14, 2022 at 12:30 pm, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, responded to a request for assistance from a snowmobiler on the Lionhead Trail System, approximately 8 miles west of town. An individual riding a snowmobile crashed into a tree while rounding a corner, sustaining a possible broken wrist.

Search and Rescue volunteers, Custer Gallatin National Forest Service, Montana Fish & Game, and a paramedic from Hebgen Basin Fire responded with a specialized rescue sled and were able to treat the patient on scene before transporting off the trail and to a nearby ambulance. The patient was transferred over to the Hebgen Basin Fire Department EMS crew for further medical evaluation and a transport to the hospital.

Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind everyone out enjoying the trails and backcountry that trail conditions can change rapidly.  Please slow down around corners for your protection and those riders approaching from the opposite direction.  Also recreate with a friend and carry a reliable means of communication.  Rescuers were able to quickly respond to this incident because a friend called immediately and provided accurate GPS coordinates.

Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

1.10.2022 Two Top Trail Injured Snowmobiler

On Monday, January 10, 2022 at 10:08 am, the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch Center received a 911 call from a group of snowmobilers reporting that one of their group had struck a tree and possibly suffered a broken femur.  The patient was getting cold and in pain but otherwise stable.

Volunteers from the Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Custer Gallatin National Forest Service, Yellowstone National Park, and Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District responded the scene, approximately 5 miles West of West Yellowstone to assist with the rescue.

Once on scene, rescuers ascertained the patient had suffered a compound femur fracture along with other fractures to both legs. Due to the severity of the patient’s injuries, the decision was made to request assistance from an Air Methods Helicopter which transported the snowmobiler to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind snowmobilers to be cognizant of changing trail conditions and to ride within their abilities.

Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

11.23.2021 M Trail Rescue

On November 23, 2021, at 10:44 AM, Gallatin County Dispatch received a call for a hiker with a possible broken ankle on the M Trail.  The hiker was one half mile up the trail.

Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue Volunteers, AMR, and Bridger Canyon Fire responded to the M Trailhead.  Volunteers met with the patient on the trail, stabilized the injured ankle, loaded them into a one-wheeled litter, and subsequently transported the patient down the trail.  The patient was taken by AMR to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for further evaluation.

Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind recreationalists that an accident can occur on familiar, frequently used trails.  Dressing for the weather, having a charged phone, and hiking with a companion can greatly reduce rescue times and provide comfort during changing conditions.

Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office

9.27.2021 Upper Triple Tree Rescue

On September 27, 2021, at 8:34 am, Gallatin County Dispatch received a call for help at the Upper Triple Tree Trail. While returning to the trailhead, a cyclist was going over rough terrain and braked hard, causing them to fall forward over the handlebars resulting in multiple injuries. Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Hyalite Fire, and AMR were dispatched to the trailhead.

Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue resources arrived on scene with the cyclist approximately half a mile from the trailhead. Search and Rescue members assisted Hyalite Fire and AMR with bringing the injured biker to the trailhead via one wheeled litter.  AMR subsequently transported the individual to Bozeman Health for further evaluation.

Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind recreationalist that accidents can happen to anyone, no matter the experience level.  Always recreate with a friend when possible and carry a reliable source of communication should anything happen.

Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

 

9.24.2021 Portal Creek Lost Hunter

On September 24, 2021 at 6:04pm, a hunter called 911 due to being lost in the backcountry near Portal Creek. The hunter had a well charged cellphone but spotty cell service. After providing essential information to dispatch and Search and Rescue personnel, the hunter was instructed to remain stationary and keep checking in at regular intervals via phone. Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky responded with ground volunteers, including a search dog team.  Billings Clinic MedFlight assisted by flying over the area to confirm the coordinates obtained from the 911 call.  The helicopter crew spotted the lost hunter at dusk.  With darkness fast approaching it was determined that landing at a safe location nearby could bring a speedy conclusion to the rescue.  With MedFlights assistance, the lost hunter was collected and flown to a Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy at another location for further assistance.

For the next couple of months, hunting season will take hunters off trail into new terrain. Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind them to be prepared for unexpected overnights, have a map and compass and know how to use them, and consider bringing a GPS locating device. In this case, the hunter was able to send out a call for help and then remain stationary so responders could come to that location. Recognizing when they were lost, calling for help early, and not compounding the situation by continuing to move, helped the Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue team bring this event to a quick and safe conclusion.

9.16.2021 Sourdough Lost Hikers

On September 16, 2021, at 6:00pm Gallatin County Dispatch received a call from a hiker who was separated from two other members of their hiking group.

The group departed from Bear Canyon expecting to hike a loop and return to the same location. While hiking, the group became lost and started to walk in the wrong direction. One hiker was able to walk ahead of the group and make a phone call to Gallatin County Dispatch.

Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue volunteers from the Valley Section responded and deployed ATV/UTV teams up Sourdough Trail. A helicopter from Billings Clinic was also deployed to look for the missing hikers along the trail system.

Search and Rescue teams located the hikers with assistance from the first hiker’s last known position. There were no reported injuries.

Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind hikers that a simple day on the trail could take an unexpected turn at any time. Therefore, take extra food, water, and a fully charged cell phone wherever you hike. Furthermore, make sure you have extra clothing, for cold weather is upon us!

9.16.2021 Little Bear Stranded Motorist

On September 16, 2021 at 5:04pm, Gallatin County 911 received a report from an individual whose side-by-side broke down near Big Bear Lake in Little Bear Canyon.

Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue responded by Forest Service road and located the driver.  Upon locating, responders learned that the vehicle’s steering became disabled, and the driver crashed into a tree.  The driver was uninjured.  Search and Rescue safely transported the driver out of the Canyon and back to their home.

Sheriff Springer would like to remind all motor sport recreationalists to always wear safety gear, and carry plenty of food, water, a map, and extra clothing in the likely event of unexpected weather changes.

Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

9.12.2021 Sypes Canyon Rescue

On September 12, 2021, at 11:12 am, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue responded to a report of a paragliding accident in the Bridger foothills.

A paraglider flew too low while descending from the launch point above the “M”.  The pilot snagged a tree, resulting in a back injury from the crash.  The pilot made phone contact with other paragliders who very quickly contacted 911.

Due to the mechanism of injury, an air extraction was necessary from the mountain terrain.  Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue responded with a ground team to make initial contact with the patient, as well as a helicopter team to coordinate a “short haul” from the crash location to an AMR ambulance at Sypes Canyon trailhead.

The patient was located, packaged, and ultimately transported to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, where they received further treatment for their injuries.

Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind you to call for help in the case of an emergency.  A direct call to 911 provides instantaneous information updates to first responders as well as a precise location of the incident.

Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.