CHAFFEE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Deputy Marty Johnson assists search and rescue volunteers preparing to ascend Mt. Princeton trail.
Posted: Monday, January 28, 2013 3:06 pm
By Casey Kelly | Times staff writer | 0 comments
Chaffee County Search and Rescue located four people and two dogs Sunday afternoon after the group became stranded above the Mount Princeton trailhead, according to a Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office press release Jan. 28.
Officials located Buena Vista residents John Buschmann, 28; Derek Howe, 26; Byron Diamond, 25; and Glendale resident Brittany Nipert, after the four spent Saturday night in a chalet above the trailhead. Nipert’s age is unknown, according to the release.
Undersheriff John Spezze said the group tried to descend the trail Sunday morning, only to realize a snow slide had obstructed the route. The group returned to the chalet to call for help, he said.
The release states that sheriff’s deputy Marty Johnson told the group to remain where they were and abandon their plan to try to descent to the west, “which would have put them either off a cliff or into far more dangerous avalanche country,” the release stated.
Rescuers using snowmobiles and snowcats reached the stranded group at about 4:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon and had them back at the trailhead an hour-and-a-half later, according to the release. Everyone in the group, including the two dogs, were uninjured and in good health.
Spezze said the group used “good, common sense” in deciding to return to the chalet to call for assistance.
“They did the smart thing,” Spezze said. “We knew the weather would change today and we wanted to get them out before it got bad.”
The chalet, Spezze said, is a rock structure located on Forest Service land that is used for shelter in the backcountry.
A total of 16 rescuers, including members of Chaffee County Search and Rescue North and South, Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office and Heart of the Rockies Snowmobile Club participated in the effort, according to Spezze.
The rescue took about five-and-a-half hours, according to the release.