(Gallatin County, Mont.) On Monday, August 17, at about 1:00 a.m., Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputies in West Yellowstone received a report of three lost hikers in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness area 25 miles north of West Yellowstone. The hikers, who were from Spain, were part of a group on a multi-day wilderness hike. They became separated from the group sometime around 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The two remaining hikers spent the remainder of the day searching but were unsuccessful and contacted the Sheriff’s Office for help. Sheriff’s Search and Rescue crews from West Yellowstone along with Forest Service empolyees were dispatched to the area on foot and horseback. Other resources called upon were a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182, Life Flight Network and Montana Air National Guard helicopters. After several hours of searching the Life Flight Network helicopter located the lost hikers 2.5 miles east of their last known location but was unable to land due to the rugged, thickly-wooded terrain. The Montana Air Guard helicopter was able to hoist the tired hikers into the helicopter and transport them safely to the West Yellowstone airport. EMS personnel from Hebgen Basin Fire Department checked out the hikers and found them all to be in good health aside from small cuts and blisters.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind hikers to avoid common mistakes that can arise like choosing the wrong path by not bringing a map. If you’re lost it’s also important to stay calm and aware by ensuring adequate calorie intake, taking frequent rest breaks and staying warm. Becoming cold, hungry and thirsty reduces you’re awareness at which point you begin to make bad decisions. Bad decisions can lead to bad days. ####