Search and Rescue receives accreditation

Max R. Smith, Chaffee County Times reporter Chaffee County Search and Rescue North completed the test for accreditation by the Mountain Rescue Association’s Rocky Mountain Chapter on Jan. 28 by performing a staged avalanche rescue. “We’re now going to have a governing body watching us, making sure we’re keeping up with national standards,” said SAR-North’s James Orlet. A member of Chaffee County SAR for 12 years, Orlet was the team’s training director from 2016 to 2017. To pass the test, an SAR crew needs the unanimous approval of a panel of other MRA members who observe the team conduct rescues in staged scenarios testing high angle technical rescue, Scree field evacuation, winter rescue and avalanche operations. Orlet said the team put in 700 hours of training to get the accreditation. In training, Orlet said that the team grew the most in their skills with high-angle rescues, which often involve using technical climbing on class five terrain to reach an injured party. “It gave a whole bunch of people skills they didn’t have before,” Orlet said. SAR-North completed all but the Avalanche test over a weekend of December 15-17, according to team training director Heath Wharton. “They wanted to see the avalanche portion again,” Wharton said. “They wanted to observe that our command staff is able to synthesize all of the information.” Wharton, a member of SAR-North since 2015, took the position of training director in January. “The greatest benefit that came out of this was seeing the team rise to the occasion,” he said. “Prior to this, we had one or two guys who were really strong at setting...

Nuts in pot edible lead to shock, SAR callout on Midland Hill

By Times and Mail staff, Jan 19, 2018 Chaffee County Search and Rescue-North assisted emergency medical services to help a man suffering from anaphylactic shock while hiking in the Midland Hill area Thursday afternoon. The 37-year-old man had an allergic reaction to nuts in a marijuana edible he had eaten, according to Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze “EMS was able to access him just fine,” said CCSAR-N spokeswoman Nancy Anderson. SAR was called to assist with evacuation off Midland Hill just east of the Arkansas river east of Buena Vista. “He was doing fine,” Anderson said. “He was transported down from the location, he was talking. Anderson said it was a “It was a simple evacuation, easy conditions.” Because the case was a medical one rather than criminal, the man’s name was not released, Spezze...

Sheriff ‘very surprised’ to find hiker missing for 3 nights alive

KUSA Oct. 10, 2017.  A hiker who was reported missing after he failed to return from an attempt to summit Missouri Mountain Saturday has been found safe after spending three nights in the wilderness in sub-freezing temperatures. Shuei Kato, 36, was first reported missing early Sunday morning, according to the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office. He had left to climb the 14,075-foot peak Saturday. The search for Kato was suspended Sunday night and was slated to resume Monday morning – a day in which searchers were cited concerns about blizzard conditions. Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said Kato was found Tuesday afternoon and is “ok.” Spezze said he was “very surprised” to find him alive and that searchers planned to make it a mission to recover his body if he hadn’t been found by Wednesday. This weekend, 45 ground searchers along with three helicopters tried to find Kato unsuccessfully. A helicopter spotted a fire Kato built at around noon Tuesday in the Pine Creek Drainage around five miles from the Missouri Mountain summit. Miraculously, he did not need medical attention and is reunited with his family. When he was found, he only had a coat and a couple other layers on. He also had “very...

Ongoing Search for Mission Hiker

Press Release, Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, October 8, 2017 On 10/08/17 at approximately 2am the Chaffee County Sheriff Communication Center received a call of a possible missing hiker on Mount Missouri, which is a fourteen thousand foot peak in northern Chaffee County. According to the caller, Shuei Pako, age 36, from Silverthorne, Colorado had summited Mount Missouri in the morning hours on October 7th and was to have returned to Silverthorne in the afternoon of the same day. Pako failed to return as was planned. Chaffee County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the trailhead and located Pako’s vehicle. Chaffee County SAR North was notified. An extensive search began on October 8th using Chaffee County SAR North and South, Summit SAR, Lake County SAR, as well as air support from Flight for Life, Reach Air Ambulance and the Air National Guard, H.A.T.C., based out of Eagle County. Over 45 ground searchers participated as well as 3 helicopters, however Pako was not located. The search was suspended due to nightfall. The search is scheduled to resume on Monday, October 9th, however a large cold front with possible blizzard conditions is due to arrive in the Collegiate Peaks Range on Monday which could hamper search operations. The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office and Chaffee County SAR will evaluate the weather conditions on Monday morning and a decision on search operations will be made at that...

ATV Accident Near St. Elmo

Chaffee County Sheriff Press Release, July 31, 2017 On July 30th at 1725 hours the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office received a call of an ATV accident on FS Road 295, which is in the St Elmo area. Deputies from the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office and Chaffee County EMS responded to the accident. Upon arrival responders found a male, Joshua Fisher, age 23 from Peyton, Colorado, pinned under the ATV who was suffering from numerous injuries. Fisher was evacuated from the scene via air ambulance. A female, Erin Orr-Scheel, age 21 from Colorado Springs, Colorado, had been ejected from the ATV and was unresponsive. CPR was performed on the victim, however she was pronounced dead at the scene. The Chaffee County Coroner responded to the scene and transported the victim to Salida,...