On June 16, 2012, at approximately 7:13 pm, a 21-year-old male from Meridan, Idaho called 911 and reported that he had become separated from his hiking party and needed assistance. He said that they had been hiking through snow and he was only wearing tennis shoes. He had blisters and needed help to get back to their truck, which was approximately 5 miles from his location. The man said that he had not seen the other two members of his group for approximately 3 hours. Personnel from the West Yellowstone division of Gallatin County Search and Rescue, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office responded.
Searchers found the caller near the Montana/Idaho border approximately fifteen miles south of West Yellowstone at approximately 9:34 pm. The search team found the other two hikers, a 42-year-old male from Boise, Idaho and his 19-year old son, fourteen minutes later. The hikers were tired but did not need medical attention. The men said that they had only planned on going for a two hour hike and were not properly prepared.
Sheriff Gootkin reminds backcountry users to have a means of communication, be prepared to spend the night even on short excursions, and let a responsible party know where you are going and when you will return.