June 27, 2018

Lost Hiker / Mansfield Ridge

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) received a report of a missing autistic 17 year-old male on the Mansfield Ridge.  A family of 5 drove up the Toll Road and hiked north on the Long Trail toward the Chin.  The 17-year old male became fatigued and decided to return to the car.  This was typical behavior for him as he’d done this on other hikes several times.  He was last seen in the area of the Profanity / Sunset Ridge intersection with the Long Trail.  When the family returned to their vehicle, their son was not there.  They looked around the parking area / visitors center with no success. The mother then called 911 for assistance and the father went north (back up the ridge) on the Long Trail looking for his son.

VT State Police (VSP) was notified of the missing person and positioned a Trooper in Underhill State Park, on the CC Road / Sunset Ridge trail intersection.  Stowe Police Chief met and interviewed the complainant at the top of the Toll Road.  SMR deployed a hasty team along the Mansfield Ridge, a specific assignment would follow once additional information became available.

The father met the Taft Lodge Caretaker at the Profanity / LT intersection along the Ridge;  she had just passed a male fitting the missing subjects description heading towards Taft Lodge.

The initial Hasty Team was just reaching the top of the Toll Road and was tasked with going across the Ridge and down Profanity in an attempt to catch up with the missing individual as he headed toward Taft Lodge.  A second team was assigned to hike up the Long Trail southbound from Rt. 108.  The father reached Taft Lodge first and located his son.

VSP was released from their Underhill assignment,

The missing subject was in good condition but fatigued.  The weather was deteriorating as it started raining.  The father and son were directed to start hiking down (northbound) the Long Trail.

The initial Hasty Team went down the Cliff Trail and Chin Clip to just below Last Exit, then up (southbound) on the LT to intercept the father and son.

Two ATVs were deployed up the Gondola work Road to Last Exit and Chin Clip.  The Hasty Team reached the party above the LT/Chin Clip intersection and escorted them to Chin Clip.  The two subjects were transported to Midway via ATV without incident.

The second Hasty Team (traveling up the LT) were instructed to abort and return to Rt 108.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Reinhardt, Speer, Rogers, Millick, Sergent, Clymer

Other Agencies Responding

VT State Police (VSP)

Stowe Police Dept (SPD)

Time of Call
5:00 PM – 8:00M

 

Weather Conditions
Overcast/Rainy, 50 deg F

June 20, 2018

Stranded Hiker – Elephant’s Head Trail/Smuggler’s Notch

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) responded to a report of a female subject stranded on a cliff in Smuggler’s Notch.

 

The subject had called 911 and reported she was hiking on the Sterling Pond Trail, lost the trail, was unable to proceed due cliffs.  The 911 dispatcher instructed the subject to stay in place and wait for rescue.  Her cell phone then lost power and no additional information was available.  Fortunately, 911 dispatch was able to obtain coordinates from her 911 call.

A hiker above Smuggler’s Cave could hear the subject calling for help and indicating she was stranded on a cliff in need of assistance.  The hiker called back to her telling her to wait for rescue.

 

The 911 coordinates placed the subject just off the Elephant’s Head Spur trail, near the Long Trail (LT) between Route 108 and Sterling Pond.

 

SMR deployed resources up the Spruce Peak work road, across Snuffy’s Trail, then hiked down the Long Trail (Southbound).   A SMR hasty team located the subject and her two dogs near the intersection of Elephant’s Head Spur Trail and the Long Trail, just off the Spur trail.  She was ambulatory, not stranded on a cliff and not requiring a technical rescue.  She lost the trail and was unsure of what direction to travel.  The balance of the team was instructed to stand down and return to the base of Spruce Peak.  The subject and her dogs were escorted to the top of the Sensation lift and SMR’s pickup truck.  She was returned to her vehicle which was parked at the top of the Notch without incident.

 

Her hike started up the Sterling Pond Trail, around Sterling Pond on the Long Trail and Elephant’s Head trail.  At the intersection where the Elephant’s Head trail crosses Snuffy’s, she accidentally continued straight (Southbound on the LT) rather than turning north/right (on Snuffy’s) in order to return to the Sterling Pond Trail.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Govoni, Speer, Westervelt, Eykelhof, Ruschp,  McLean, Wehse, Millick, Warren, Sergent, Clymer, Choularton

Other Agencies Responding

VT State Police (VSP)

Time of Call
8:45 PM – 12:30 AM

 

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 50 deg F

June 7, 2018

Injured Hiker – Pinnacle Trail

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) responded to the Pinnacle hiking trail for a report of a 33 year-old male subject with an ankle injury.  Stowe Police Department (SPD), SMR & Stowe Rescue staged at the Upper Pinnacle Meadows parking lot.

 

SPD arrived at the trail head first and located the subject high on the Pinnacle trail at the intersection of the Pinnacle and Skyline trails.

 

A SMR medical team reached the subject who had an isolated ankle injury.  The subject was hiking down the trail on very slippery terrain, he lost his footing, turning his ankle and heard a loud snap.  He was unable to bare weight, was in significant pain, his ankle presented with deformity / swelling, had diminished circulation and neurological responses distal to the injury.  The subject’s injury was immobilized with a vacuum split.

 

The SMR litter team arrived and the patient was further packaged in a litter with a vacuum mattress and pain medication was administered.  The subject was evacuated by litter and wheel to the Upper Pinnacle Meadows parking lot without incident.  The patient was then transferred to Stowe Rescue for transportation to the hospital.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Govoni, Speer, Westervelt, Eykelhof, Ruschp,  McLean, Miller, Rogers, Millick, Sergent, Clymer

Other Agencies Responding

Stowe Police Dept (SPD)

Stowe Rescue

Time of Call
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

 

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 60 deg F

May 29, 2018

Injured Hiker – Mansfield Ridge

A hiking party of four had ascended the Halfway House Trail and were traveling north on the Long Trail toward the Chin when a party member lost her footing and injured her ankle.  She was unable to bear weight on the extremity and called 911 for assistance.

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) deployed a hasty team to locate the subject and start patient care.  A litter team was then deployed with personnel and equipment.

The subject was located on the Long Trail just north of the ‘Lower Lip.’  All party members were reported to be in good condition and one female patient with an ankle injury, unable to bare weight.  After minor splinting, the patient attempted to walk with significant assistance from a rescuer and a party member.  She was able to move a short distance on easier terrain, but unable to negotiate any moderate terrain. At this point the group stopped and waited for the litter team’s arrival.

Upon the arrival of the litter team, her splinting was reinforced with a lower-leg vacuum splint and she was packaged in a litter with a vacuum mattress.  She was evacuated south on the Long Trail to the Summit Station with a litter wheel without incident.

The patient was then moved into SMR’s pickup truck and transported to the Toll House parking lot, where she was evaluated by Stowe Rescue.  She refused transport, seeking medical attention independently.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Govoni, Reinhardt, Speer, Westervelt, Ruschp,  McLean, Millick, Chegwidden, Clymer

Other Agencies Responding

None.

Time of Call
3:30 PM – 7:00 PM

 

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 60 deg F

May 23, 2018

Injured Hiker (Middlesex)

Waterbury Back-country Rescue (WBCR) requested assistance w/a female subject who fell, injuring her upper right arm and right chest.  She was ambulatory and able to hike slowly.

The party of 2 were hiking on the Middlesex side of Mt Hunger, hiking the White Rocks Mt to Hunger Mt loop.

The party called 911 from the summit of Mt Hunger and WBCR instructed them to proceed down the Middlesex side.  This proved problematic, as the steep, rocky, technical terrain was difficult for the party to negotiate.  The top 500M of the trail took the party ~2.5 hours to descend.

Six rescuers from WBCR and SMR’s Deputy Chief hiked up the Middlesex trail to meet the party and assist them in their decent back to their vehicle.   The balance of SMR assembled at SFD, once WBCR resources were determined to be adequate the balance of SMR was released.

Team Members Responding
Govoni

Standby Personnel:  Veliko, Westervelt, Ruschp, Millick, Miller, Clymer

Other Agencies Responding

Waterbury Back-Country Rescue (WBCR)

 

Time of Call
18:30 PM – 00:30 AM

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 40 deg F

May 21, 2018

Lost Person (Stowe)

A reportedly intoxicated 21-year-old male was walking between Stowe Cinema and the Village Green condominiums with 3 friends / family members.  He became separated from his group and his location unknown.

A car spotted the individual near Dark Side and informed Stowe Police Dept. (SPD).
SPD & Morrisville Police Dept. K-9 Unit (MPD) started searching for the subject ~2130 on 5/20.  Search efforts were unsuccessful and at 0300 SPD requested SMR support to search the area between Dark Side and the Village Green.

A course grid search was used to clear parked cars and any unlocked outbuildings.
The subject eventually turned his phone off airplane mode and called his parents. SPD picked him up off Barrows Road.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Reinhardt, Ruschp, Westervelt, Raybould, Millick, Sargent

Other Agencies Responding

Stowe Police Dept.

Morrissville Police Dept. (K9 Unit)

 

Time of Call
03:00 – 05:00 AM

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 40 deg F

March 10, 2018

Lost Back-Country Skier (Bolton Valley/Vicinity)

A Bolton back-country skier was reported overdue on Saturday morning after departing for his outing on Friday around noon.  He did not leave a specific itinerary–only that he was going to Bolton Valley Resort (BVR), an area that he was not very familiar with—and he was skiing alone.

VT State Police (VSP) Search and Rescue (SAR) Team was notified, established a command post at BVR and established a search plan.

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) was tasked with searching the Cottonbrook Trail.  A team of 4 used snowmobiles and a tracked ATV to access the Cottonbrook Trail via the Cottonbrook Road in Nebraska Valley.  This trail was searched without success and just as SMR was completing this assignment, the command post advised the subject had been located and was in good condition.

The subject was skiing the BVR back-county and skied an unmarked section of glades that led him toward the backside of Ricker Mountain where he was forced to spend the night.  His cell phone battery died as he was calling the BVR ski patrol to report he was lost situation on Friday afternoon.  He was able to start a fire and insulated himself with cut spruce bows.  The next morning he reached the Woodard Ridge and eventually he found a hunting camp and was able to gain entry and warm up.  He then continued down Woodard Ridge and met the owner of the hunting camp who called 911 to advise he made it safely out to Route 2.  The subject was evaluated for cold injuries and released.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Govoni, Reinhardt, Eykelhoff, Clymer

Other Agencies Responding

VSP/DPS Search & Rescue (Incl. DPS Car 96)

VT Fish & Wildlife

Richmond & Waterbury BC Rescue

Time of Call
10:00 AM – 3:30 PM

Weather Conditions
Overcast, Calm, 35 deg F

March 2-3, 2018

Bingham Falls Recovery

Friday 3/2, 3:45 PM – 7:30 PM

Stowe Emergency Services received a report of a male subject who slipped on ice-covered terrain, falling into the upper gorge at Bingham Falls.

Stowe Police Dept. (PD), Stowe Fire Dept. (FD), Stowe EMS (EMS) and Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) responded.  Stowe FD established Incident Command.  Johnson Water Rescue Team was requested in the event dive capability was required.

The subject, reported to be a UVM student, fell into the gorge in an area that can only be accessed by technical rope systems.  SMR personnel were lowered into the gorge from both sides of gorge to preform visual scans in an attempt to locate the subject.  The river was largely clear of ice, with ice build ups only on the sides of the gorge.  Based on the subject’s entry point, river flow/height and rock strainers, it was determined he was in one of two pools in the upper gorge, with water depths between 1 and 15 feet.   The first pool is shallow and was visually cleared by the rescuers.  The team then focused on searching the second pool.

Johnson’s Dive Team provided an underwater camera to aid in the search.  The camera was attached to a pike pole and a SMR swimmer was lowered into the gorge to video probe the second pool while the Johnson team manned the video monitor on shore.  Unfortunately, this attempt was also unsuccessful in locating the subject.  At approximately 6 PM, over two hours after the subject’s fall, the search was suspended, and rescue operations were transitioned to a recovery effort.

SMR formulated a recovery plan, resource requirements and personnel assignments Friday evening to facilitate recovery operations the next day.

 

Saturday 3/3, 7 AM – 2:30 PM 

Stowe PD, Colchester Technical Rescue (CTR), Johnson Dive Team and SMR participated in the recovery operation.  Stowe PD was assigned Incident Command responsibilities and SMR had Field Operations with overall command of all field personnel and operations.

SMR established a twin-track high-line rope system over the second pool enabling a rescuer to be suspended over and then lowered into the gorge, providing the ability to precisely position the rescuer just above the water.  Four water / high-angle technicians from SMR & one from CTR established independent rope systems to position themselves along the gorge walls to support the high-line operation.  Johnson’s Dive team manned the shore-based camera monitor.

A SMR high-angle / water-rescue technician was suspended with the high-line system over a high-probability section of the river and using a pike pole with Johnson’s underwater camera attached, probed a hydraulic that separated the two pools.  The subject was located pinned underwater, held in place by the hydraulic.

The SMR rescuer on the high line was brought back to the shore and was re-positioned in the gorge with a subject recovery pole.  Two rescue swimmers from Johnson Dive team and a litter were lowered into the gorge with rope systems established by SMR.  The SMR technician on the high line was able to secure the subject with the recovery pole, then passed the recovery pole to the SMR & CTR technicians established along the gorge lower banks.  These technicians were able to move the subject out of the hydraulic and down stream in a river eddy to the two Johnson Dive Team members, who then loaded the subject into a litter.  The litter and Johnson personnel were raised out of the gorge by SMR rope system teams.  The subject was transported with a tracked ATV/Boggan up to Mountain Road.  All personnel were successfully cleared from the gorge without incident.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Govoni, Reinhardt, Speer, Miller, Eykelhoff, Ruschp, Rogers, McLean, Burke, Wehse, Raybould, Millick, Warren, Chegwidden, Clymer

Other Agencies Responding

VSP/DPS Search & Rescue

Stowe Fire, Stowe Police, Stowe EMS

Johnson Water Rescue, Colchester Technical Rescue

Time of Call
Friday:  3:45 PM – 7:30 PM

Saturday:  7:00 AM – 2:30 PM

Weather Conditions
Overcast, Calm, 35 deg F

February 10, 2018

Lost Snowboarder (Thunder Basin / West Side of Mount Mansfield Chin)

Early Saturday morning, a 19-year-old male snowboarder left Stowe Mountain Resort for the Chin. He was alone and intended to ride terrain off of the Chin but became disoriented in limited visibility and unintentionally descended into Thunder Basin on the west side of the Chin towards Underhill.

At about 1 PM he realized his mistake and started to snowshoe back up his snowboard track. Deep snow slowed his progress. At about 4:30 PM he was at an elevation of 3,500′ and the steepness of his snowboard track forced him to take an alternate route. This proved highly problematic as snow depth, steep terrain and extremely dense spruce trees made uphill travel extremely difficult. Between 4:30 and 5:30 PM he was only able to gain an additional 100′ in elevation. His cell phone was almost out of battery and he called for assistance and provided his coordinates.

He was located about 3,600′ in elevation, about 1/3 of a mile west of the Chin in a large drainage known as Thunder Basin. A team of 4 Stowe Mountain Rescue responders rode the Gondola to the Cliff House, hiked up the Boot Pack to the High Traverse, crossed over to Hellbrook Trail to a point northwest of the Adam’s Apple. From this point behind the Adam’s Apple, the team bushwhacked ~0.3 miles of very difficult terrain.

In addition to the Field Team, a team of three Stowe Mountain Rescue responders established a command post and staged at the Cliff House in case additional resources were required.

The field team reached the subject’s initial coordinates and followed his tracks uphill for about 300′ (100’ of elevation), locating the subject at about 9:55 PM. He was cold, but otherwise in good condition. The subject was led back to the Hellbrook / High Traverse Trail and back to the Cliff House. The Stowe Mountain Resort provided a Bus Cat to transport the team and subject back to the resort base.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Govoni, Rogers, McLean, Wehse, Millick, Chegwidden

Other Agencies Responding
none

Time of Call
5:40 PM – 1:30 AM

Weather Conditions
Foggy/Light Snow, Calm, 25 deg F

February 1, 2018

Injured Skier / Litter Evacuation (Trapp’s Cross-Country Center)

Stowe Mountain Rescue responded to a report of 66 year old male with a hip injury at Russell Knoll, Trapp Family Lodge (TFL) ski area.

Two SMR snowmobiles and ATV with rescue boggan responded.

Patient was found on the ground covered with blankets, positioned on his right hip. Patient was loaded into Cascade litter, with hypothermia bag and vacuum mattress, then transported via rescue boggan back to the main parking lot where Stowe Rescue transported the patient to Copley hospital.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Govoni, Westervelt, Speer, McLean, Wehse, Raybold, Chegwidden

Other Agencies Responding
Stowe Rescue

Time of Call
2:50 – 5:00 PM

Weather Conditions
Overcast, Calm, 30 deg F

January 21, 2018

Snowmobile Accident (Woodard Trail / Little River State Park, Waterbury)

Stowe Mountain Rescue responded to a snow-mobile accident on the Woodard Trail near Little River State Park in Waterbury.

38-year old male subject (driver) collided with a tree on the edge of the snowmobile trail and was was experiencing chest pain from the accident and had difficulty breathing. SMR responded with two snowmobiles plus the boggan. The subject was packaged with the vacuum mattress and thermal bag into a litter and transported down the trailhead in the boggan.

Subject was then transferred to Waterbury Rescue for transport to a hospital.

Team Members Responding
Reinhardt, Westervelt, Miller, Wehse, Warren, Chegwidden

Other Agencies Responding
Waterbury Back-Country

Time of Call
14:00 – 16:30

Weather Conditions
Overcast, Calm, 35 deg F

January 13, 2018

Flooding Support (Highgate, VT)

VT Emergency Management requested Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) be put on standby at 8 AM for ice-jam flooding around the state.

At 10:30 AM, SMR was deployed to Highgate, VT, to assist local resources with evacuating homes that have been impacted by Missisquoi River flooding.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Reinhardt, Eykelhoff, Ruschp, Rogers, Burke, Millick

Other Agencies Responding
Colchester Technical Rescue
Swanton Fire Dept.
Franklin Fire Dept.

Time of Call
08:00 – 20:00

Weather Conditions
Overcast, Calm, 5 deg F

January 7, 2018

Stowe Mountain Rescue Mission log overdue skier

Overdue Skier (Catamount Trail / Bolton – Michigan Valley)

A 64 year-old male, solo back-country skier was reported overdue by his wife. The planned route was Bolton Valley Resort (BVR) to Michigan Valley on the Catamount Trail. The subject was dropped off at BVR at 0900, called his wife at 1300 as his phone was losing battery life (not in distress, just letting her know is phone was losing power).

VT State Police (VSP) Search and Rescue (SAR) was informed of the overdue skier (no additional information was available) and Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) was requested to sweep the Catamount trail from Nebraska Valley Road to BVR.

SMR deployed a 5-person search team. Snowmobiles and a tracked ATV were used to move the search team up the Catamount trail to an elevation of ~1700′, the search team proceeded on snowshoes above this point. The search team stopped frequently, using whistle blows and voice calling for the subject.

At an elevation of ~1900′, the search team made voice contact w/the subject. He was located ~100M skier’s left of the Catamount Trail. The subject had experienced difficulties breaking trail in deep snow along his journey (slowing his progress), and then lost the trail high on the ridge that separates Bolton Valley & Michigan Valley. The subject continued down hill, off trail until it became dark, at which point he made camp for the night.

The subject was in good spirits (although fatigued), had minimal emergency gear (no overnight gear) and was prepared to spend an uncomfortable night out in the elements.

The subject was provided snowshoes and walked out to the snowmobiles & ATV for a ride back to the trail head. His son met him at the trail head to drive him home so he would not drive in his fatigued condition.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Westervelt, Wehse, Raybold

Other Agencies Responding
VT DSP/Search and Rescue (Van Dyke)

Time of Call
21:45 – 02:00

Weather Conditions
Overcast, Calm, Scattered Snow showers, 5 deg F