2.14.21 Portal Creek Stuck Snowmobile

On February 14, 2021, at 3:40pm, two snowmobilers were riding in the Portal Creek area when they became stuck in a ravine. They could not get out and were able to contact a friend to advise that they were stuck. The friend called 911 and gave dispatch the GPS coordinates supplied by one of the snowmobilers.

Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky responded and got as close to the snowmobilers as they felt they could without making the situation worse due to the rough terrain. The stuck snowmobilers were directed to hike out to the SAR members to avoid causing a larger problem.

Search and Rescue members made contact with snowmobilers and transported them to safety without incident.

Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

2.14.21 Madison Arm Snowmobile Rescue

Sunday February 14, 2021, at 1:05 p.m. the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch center received a 911 call from a snowmobiler on the Madison Arm Trail, approximately 6 miles northwest of West Yellowstone. The snowmobiler reported that his daughter had fallen off her snowmobile and struck a tree with her head. The girl was reportedly having difficulty staying conscious.

Searchers from Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Custer Gallatin National Forest and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks responded to assist.

When rescuers arrived on scene, the girl was still having difficulty staying conscious. She was quickly loaded into a specialized rescue snowbulance and transported to a waiting Hebgen Basin Rural Fire Department Ambulance who then transported her to Big Sky Medical Center for evaluation.

Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

2.14.21 Beehive Basin Avalanche


On February 14, 2021 at 11:44 am, two backcountry splitboarders were caught in an avalanche in Beehive Basin. Both splitboarders were swept down slope into trees. One was not buried and did not sustain any injuries. He immediately called 911 when he heard his partner yelling for help.

The second male sustained multiple injuries due to being drug into the trees by the avalanche and was partially buried in snow.

Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky, LifeFlight and Big Sky Fire Department responded. Search and Rescue members were able to quickly make it to the backcountry location, assess the patient and start rescue procedures. A Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue helicopter team was able to transport the patient to an awaiting ambulance which then transported the patient to Big Sky Medical Center. The patient was subsequently flown to Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital by LifeFlight Network helicopter.

Photos provided by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

2.9.21 Two Top Snowmobile Rescue

Tuesday, at 1:56 pm, the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch Center received a 911 call from a snowmobiler on the Two Top trail, approximately 8 miles west of West Yellowstone. The snowmobiler reported that he was alone and his snowmobile was hopelessly stuck in the snow. The coordinates from the 911 call indicated that the snowmobiler was approximately 1.5 miles off the trail in an area where he was unlikely to be seen by other snowmobilers in the area.

Rescuers from Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks responded to assist.

Due to fresh snow, the snowmobiler had taken a wrong turn at what appeared to be the main trail, which unfortunately led into a steep canyon with deep powder. The stuck snowmobile was designed for trail use and struggled in those conditions.  Volunteers were able to get the snowmobile unstuck and safely escort him back to West Yellowstone without incident.

Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

2.8.21 Lost M Hiker

On February 8, 2020, at approximately 6:03pm, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue was dispatched to search for a lost hiker who was descending from the ridge above the M trail.

The hiker had gotten disoriented due to darkness, weather conditions, and the Bridger Fire destroying familiar landmarks. The hiker called 911 and provided accurate coordinates to searchers. Clothing was appropriate for the conditions and searchers had a good cell phone connection with the hiker who was remaining stationary to aid in the search.

A team of three volunteers, along with a search dog made the initial ascent. Shortly after another team was sent up consisting of four volunteers and a single wheeled litter. Team 1 found the hiker near the coordinates given from the 911 call. The hiker was assessed, in good condition, and able to hike out with both search teams.

Due to the hiker calling 911 early, being dressed for the conditions, remaining calm, and providing good information to the search teams, a very speedy and efficient search was possible.

Photos courtesy of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

2.8.21 Reas Pass Search

Monday at 5:54 p.m. the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch center received a call from a local snowmobile rental shop reporting that a group of four snowmobilers had returned without one of their party. A deputy spoke with the three members who had gotten separated from their fourth member in the area of Reas Pass, approximately 8 miles south of West Yellowstone. With temperatures dropping into the single digits, and the snowmobiler being inexperienced and unfamiliar with the area, the decision was made to initiate a search.

Searchers from Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Custer Gallatin National Forest Service, and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks responded to assist.

The missing snowmobiler was located walking down the trail. He had gotten his snowmobile stuck and was unable to free it on his own. Volunteers were able to get the snowmobile unstuck and escort him back to West Yellowstone.

Photo Courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.