Woman dies after Jeep falls 600 feet

by D.J. DeJong, Mountain Mail Staff Writer A 43-year-old Kansas woman is dead and her daughter was seriously injured Tuesday after their 2014 Jeep Wrangler went off Iron Chest Road about 3 miles above St. Elmo, falling 600 feet down the mountainside, Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said. Jennifer Lynn Orr of Wichita was driving the vehicle in a caravan of five privately owned Jeeps headed up Iron Chest Road from CR 295. Iron Chest Road is a rough four-wheel-drive road with steep drop-offs. The vehicle was at an elevation of 11,440 feet when the slide occurred. Upon encountering a large rock in the road, Orr tried to maneuver the Jeep over the rock, but the Jeep started to slide and went off the road and down the slope. Spezze said the Chaffee County Communications Center received an emergency text about 12:30 p.m. and dispatched Chaffee County Search and Rescue North and other first responders to the scene. Orr was pronounced dead at the scene, and her daughter was airlifted to Pueblo by a REACH Air Medical Services helicopter. Other first responders called in to assist included the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, Chaffee County Emergency Medical Services and Chaffee County Fire Protection...

Search and Rescue assist two hikers

Cody Olivas, Mountail Mail Staff Writer, July 30, 2018 Chaffee County Search and Rescue North and South teams joined forces to rescue two hikers Sunday morning in Mount Tabeguache’s McCoy Gulch. After reaching the summit of Mount Tabeguache Saturday afternoon, the hikers from Boulder, James Boyce, 50, and daughter-in-law Ray Boyce, 35, took the wrong route down and ended up in McCoy Gulch, a notoriously steep and dangerous area of the mountain. “That particular trail is not often used and it’s easy to get off of it,” Don Dubin, Chaffee County Search and Rescue South vice president, said. After reaching some steep cliffs that they couldn’t descend, James Boyce called 911 around 7 p.m. The hikers were originally connected to Saguache’s 911 service, who told them how to find their GPS coordinates on their phone. Once the hikers found their coordinates, they were connected with Chaffee County. Dubin said he spoke with James Boyce several times, telling them to stay put and assuring him that they would be rescued. “We were able to obtain a GPS position from his cellphone, which enabled us to start a rescue plan,” Dubin said. Their location, however, made getting them out a challenge. “The hikers were in a very unusual spot where none of us had been before, and the decision making of how to approach this particular rescue was a difficult one,” Dubin said. He said when they usually go into the McCoy Gulch area to help people, it’s on the west side of the creek, not the east side where the hikers were. The decision eventually was made to launch the...

Two injured in ATV wreck

D.J. DeJong, Mountain Mail Staff Writer,  Jul 26, 2018 A man and a woman, both reported to be in their 70s, sustained injuries Tuesday when their side-by-side utility task vehicle (UTV) went off the road on the east side of Hancock Pass about ¼ mile below the pass. Chaffee County Search and Rescue North received the call about 5 p.m., President Scott Anderson said. Anderson said Search and Rescue workers at the scene reported the couple had pulled over to the edge of the narrow road to let another vehicle pass and got too close to the edge. One wheel dropped off the road and the UTV rolled over. A rescue staging area was set up at the Hancock town site on CR 295, about 5 miles up from St. Elmo, where Chaffee County Emergency Medical Services waited with an ambulance. Anderson said the victims were extracted from the scene by UTV and transferred to the ambulance for transport to Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center. They were transported by ambulance because Flight for Life and REACH aircraft were unable to operate due to local weather conditions, he...

SAR rescues lost hiker off Mount Princeton in 17-hour mission

  Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 12:37 pm | Updated: 3:11 pm, Thu Jun 14, 2018. By Max R. Smith, Chaffee County Times, Times reporter | 0 comments Chaffee County Search and Rescue-North undertook what it called in a Facebook post its “biggest mission of 2018” last weekend, a 17-hour overnight rescue of a hiker lost on Mount Princeton. Ten CCSAR-N volunteers responded to the call at 10:47 p.m., Saturday to find Dan Dunham of Cape Coral, Fla., who was located via his cell phone on the south face of the mountain at about 12,800 feet above sea level. Dunham, 68, was visiting Colorado as part of an ambitious tour of the West packed with hikes intended to get himself back into shape. In the previous weeks, he had climbed mountains in Mount Zion National Park, Colorado National Monument, the Maroon Bells and a bit of the Continental Divide trail along Independence Pass. Only 4 or 5 days before his Princeton hike, he bagged Mount Elbert. “I felt pretty good about it. I was getting to where I wanted to be,” he said. “This was what I wanted to do: hike fairly easy hikes but spend a lot of time outdoors and at elevation.” But summiting Mount Princeton in particular meant for Durham the completion of a trip over 20 years old, when a group of friends hiked several Colorado fourteeners in short order. Exhausted from summitting Mount of the Holy Cross in the days prior, the only mountain Dunham sat out during that trip while the others climbed was Mount Princeton. “I just waited in the van and they did Mount Princeton,” he said....

Private boater dies after capsizing raft

Posted: Monday, June 4, 2018 6:37 pm | Updated: 7:47 pm, Mon Jun 4, 2018. Chaffee County Times The Chaffee County Communications Center received a call June 4 about 3:11 p.m, about a raft that capsized in the vicinity of the Pine Creek Rapids approximately 13 miles north of Buena Vista. Members of the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, Chaffee Fire, Chaffee County EMS, Chaffee County Search and Rescue North and State Parks and Wildlife all responded to the scene and began search efforts. According to a witness the victim and his wife put in the Arkansas River at the Clear Creek confluence. A short distance downriver the raft they were riding on capsized and both passengers of the private raft entered the river. The wife of the victim was able to swim to safety however the victim continued downriver. Search efforts began immediately and after a large scale search began the victim was located approximately 4 hours after he entered the river. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene and the Chaffee County Coroner responded and took possession of the victim. The victim was identified as Christian Sheetz, age 46, from Summit...