(Gallatin County, Mont.)
Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to the Storm Castle trailhead for an overdue snowmobiler. The 52 year old Bozeman man’s wife reported that he had gone snowmobiling by himself in the area of Storm Castle and was supposed to return home before dark. When he failed to return, she drove to the trailhead and located his truck. At that point, she called to make the report.
Reach Air Medical flew the man’s planned route, using a search light and night vision but did not find him. Rescuers responded to the area with snowmobiles and found him hiking down the road 3 miles from the trailhead. The man said that he had gone off the trail 12 miles up the road near the cabins and became stuck. He tried to get unstuck but realized he would not be able to on his own and decided to hike back to his truck. He told rescuers that he had seen the helicopter and that its search light had passed over him but said that he did not have a light to signal with. The man was dressed in riding gear that was appropriate for current weather conditions. Rescuers transported him back to the trailhead. He was uninjured and in good spirits.
Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind people who enter the backcountry always to go with a partner and be prepared to spend the night should things not go as planned. Telling someone where your are going and when you plan to return was very helpful in this case.