On June 28, 2021, Gallatin County dispatched received a call from a hiker who became separated from a party of three near the Gallatin Peak trail. The caller had made it down to the trailhead but the two other members of the party were still in the backcountry. The caller advised the two lost hikers were dressed for conditions, had food and water, and were capable of spending the night. An aircrew from Life Flight Network spotted two hikers matching the description that evening. They did not appear to be in distress and were on an established trail.
On June 29, 2021, at approximately 7:06 am, one of the two lost hikers called Gallatin County 911 dispatch requesting assistance. Searchers were able to obtain an approximate location from the 911 call. Volunteers from Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue responded from Big Sky and Gallatin Valley.
Intermittent phone contact was made with the lost hikers but a secondary location confirmation was not achieved. Life Flight Network provided a helicopter to try to locate the hikers and provide a location confirmation. The helicopter crew spotted the hikers at approximately 11:08 am on Spanish Creek Trail. A ground team departed from Spanish Creek Trailhead to locate the hikers at their last known location. The ground team made contact with the lost hikers 3.3 miles from the trailhead. They were uninjured and led back to the trailhead where they received a ride to their vehicle from a relative.
On the way down the ground team came upon a teen hiking in a group with a migraine that needed assistance to the trailhead. The ground team assessed and transported the patient to the trailhead and released them to a designated guardian.
Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind hikers to take plenty of food, water, clothing, and a charged cell phone to call for help if trouble should arise.
Photos courtesy of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.
On Saturday, June 26, 2021 at approximately 6:17 pm, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky responded to a request for assistance from a hiker that lost their way on the Porcupine Creek Trail. The individual, who was out on a day hike, misjudged the trail length and route, became disoriented, and requested assistance out.
Volunteers responded using a dirt bike and a side by side UTV, and were able to transport the stranded individual safely out to the trailhead.
Sheriff Springer would like to remind everyone recreating outdoors to: to know your route, to try and travel with a friend, and carry a reliable means of communication. The hiker in this case was able to call 911 with grid coordinates which aided in a speedy and successful rescue.
On Saturday June 19, 2021 at approximately 5:47 pm, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky responded to a request for assistance from an individual approximately 6 miles up the Buck Ridge Trail, south of the Big Sky junction. One individual riding an ATV rolled the vehicle and sustained multiple injuries. The individual suffered leg, arm, back and neck injuries, also losing consciousness for a short period of time.
Volunteers responded with an ATV and specialized rescue sled and were able to treat the patient on scene before transporting off the mountain and back to the trailhead. The patient was transferred to the Big Sky Fire Department EMS crew for further medical evaluation and transport to the hospital.
Sheriff Dan Springer would like remind people enjoying our recreational opportunities in the backcountry to always travel with a friend and carry a reliable means of communications. In this instance, the injured party’s friend was able to leave the patient and travel a short distance to get a cell signal.
Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office
On Saturday, June 5, 2021 at approximately 4:48 pm, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue responded to a request for assistance for a kayaker who came out of their boat on the Gallatin River near mile marker 60.
Volunteers responded and discovered that the individual had made it safely to shore, and was returning to retrieve their boat. Responders simultaneously received a report of a second kayaker who came out of their boat while attempting to assist the first kayaker. The second kayaker was stranded on a rocky piece of shoreline, separated from their boat. Teams from Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky and the Valley established a safety plan in order to support a third kayaker while they towed the boat to their friend. The kayaker successfully made it back into their boat, and all parties made it safely off the river.
Sheriff Springer would like to remind kayakers and rafters to be extremely cautious during spring runoff due to high, fast, and cold waters. Knowing your skill level when it comes to helping someone in the river and knowing when to call for help are essential in emergency situations.
On Saturday, June 5, 2021 at approximately 1:32 pm, West Yellowstone Police Department dispatch received a 911 call from a group of boaters who had suddenly encountered a shallow area while wake boarding at Hebgen Lake. The boat had become stuck in the heavy mud, stopping so suddenly that the passengers were thrown forward in the boat. Fortunately, no one sustained injuries, however their boat had become hopelessly stuck. They were able to wade to shore and request assistance from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.
A Gallatin County Sheriff Deputy and a volunteer from the Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone responded the scene with a Sheriff’s Patrol Boat. They were able to free the boat and move it into deeper water. There was no damage to the boat.
Sheriff Springer would like to remind boaters recreating in the greater Yellowstone area to be cognizant the present water levels and to familiarize themselves on the many hazardously shallow areas of the local waterways. Striking such hazards at high speed could result in equipment damage or injury.
On June 1, 2021, at 5:45 pm, Gallatin County dispatch received a call of a subject who had impaled their foot on an object while hiking to Ousel Falls in Big Sky. The subject was able to remove the impalement but their foot was bleeding. Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputies and Search and Rescue responded with the Big Sky Fire Department. Medical professionals from the Fire Department were able to treat the injury on scene and the subject was assisted off the trail by Search and Rescue volunteers. The subject elected to go to the hospital by personal vehicle.
Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind outdoor enthusiasts to bring tools, supplies, and proper clothing when recreating in the backcountry. A first aid kit is also essential to help stop bleeding while waiting for rescuers to arrive.
Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office
On June 1, 2021, at 1:12 pm, Gallatin County dispatch received a call of four people who were rafting the Gallatin River when their raft flipped in the area of House Rock. Initial reports stated one individual was on a rock and the other three were trying to get back to the raft or shore. Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue from Bozeman and Big Sky responded to the call. The four individuals were assisted by three kayakers that were in the area and were able to get back into their raft and float down to the take out. Two other individuals that were in the raft had safely made it to shore and a motorist gave them a ride down to the take out. All involved individuals were cold, wet, a little banged up but overall okay. They all had life vests and helmets on.
Sheriff Springer would like to remind rafters and kayakers that the Gallatin River is reaching high runoff levels, is very cold and it is not the same river to float that it was a couple weeks ago. If you go rafting, wear the proper safety gear, dress for the water temperature and know your limitations. Thank you to all the citizens who also helped keep this event from becoming more that a cold, wet and scary experience for the involved individuals.
On Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at approximately 7:20 pm, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky responded to a request for assistance from two hikers that fell into the South Fork of the Gallatin River. The first individual slipped and fell into the river and the second individual jumped into the water to assist. The pair made it out of the water, but on the opposite side of the river from the Ousel Falls Trail.
Search and Rescue Volunteers, Big Sky Fire Dept. and Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office responded and helped the stranded individuals. All parties made it safely out to the trailhead. Both of the individuals were assessed by Big Sky Fire Department personnel for cold exposure but were released on scene.
Sheriff Springer would like to remind individuals when recreating outdoors to be aware of the dangers of going into moving water and to watch your footing around moving water, especially during spring runoff when riverbanks are extremely unstable.