May 15-19, 2017 (Mt. Pisgah)

VT State Police (VSP) Search and Rescue (SAR) Commander requested assistance from Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) to search the cliff top of Mt Pisgah, in Westmore VT, for a missing 23 year-old male on Monday 5/15. VSP SAR and New England k9 had been unsuccessful at locating the missing individual after searching the area the prior day.

SMR Team searched a number of cliff-top access points (Overlooks) via fixed rope to evaluate the cliff and the subject was visually located about 350-400’ down on a large sloping ledge. SMR inspected the terrain from both top- and bottom-vantage points; the examination of the 350-400’ cliff above the subject revealed very dangerous conditions, with large amounts of loose, unstable rock. The objective hazards of this cliff section made it an unacceptable work environment for rescuers. Access to the subject from the bottom of the cliff was possible (estimated 150-200 feet above the base of the cliff), but loose and wet rock below the subject would make the climbing difficult and dangerous. Inadequate personnel, equipment and time of day prevented any opportunity to execute an extrication on Monday.

Thorough pre-planning activities between VSP, Colchester Technical Rescue, VT Army National Guard, and the Mountain Warfare School took place throughout the week, with the goal of a 2-day operation established for Friday (pre-rig access points) and Saturday (body extraction).

Good conditions on Friday prevailed and the operation was completed in one day.

Team Members Responding
Monday (5/15): Veliko, Westervelt, Speer, Burke, Wehse
Friday (5/19): Veliko, Westervelt, Reinhardt, Eykelhoff, Burke, Rogers, Palmer, Speer & Miller

Other Agencies Responding
VT State Police
Colchester Technical Rescue
VT Army National Guard – Air Wing (Helicopter)
VT Army National Guard – Mountain Warfare School
Orleans Rescue – road stand-by
Grand Ilse Sheriffs Office – Drone
VT Fish & Wildlife

Time of Call
5/15: 0800-1800
5/19: 0630-2100

Weather Conditions
5/15: Cool (45 degrees), light rain
5/19: Cool (45 degrees), light rain

May 28, 2017 (Long Trail)

SMR was summoned to assist Cambridge Fire/Rescue with a litter evacuation off the Long Trail. A 47-year old female subject had fallen a number of times during her descent on the steep trail between Taft Lodge and Route 108/Mountain Road injuring her hip and rendering her unable to complete the hike. Rescuers reached the subject (and hiking partner) after a 30-minute hike up from the trail head.

Patient was packaged in a litter/wheel and evacuated without incident to an awaiting ambulance for transport to a local hospital for further evaluation.

Team Members Responding
Westervelt, Speer, Govoni, Ruschp, Wehse, Raybould

Other Agencies Responding
Cambridge Fire/Rescue
Stowe Rescue

Time of Call
20:45 – 23:00

Weather Conditions
Calm, Cool (45 Degrees), Dry

March 3, 2017

Waterbury Backcountry rescue requested assistance with two hikers on Hunger Mountain at the junction of the White Rocks Trail and the Hunger Mt. Trail The hikers were unprepared for icy trail, frigid temperatures and winds, and were without lights after dark.. They stopped to warm the woman’s foot, but were unable to put her frozen boot back on.

A team of three rescuers quickly got to the hikers to provide additional clothing and lighting, hoping they would then be able to hike off the mountain under their own power. A litter team was also fielded as a precaution, in case they were unable to hike. The stranded party was able to hike off the mountain with assistance and a litter carry was not required. They were evaluated by Waterbury Ambulance for cold exposure.

Team Members Responding
Burke, McLean, Rogers, Van Dyke, Veliko, Wehse, Westervelt

Other Agencies Responding
Vermont State Police, Camel’s Hump Backcountry Rescue, Waterbury Backcountry Rescue, Waterbury Ambulance

Time of Call
19:45 – 23:00

Weather Conditions
Very cold and windy

February 25, 2017

Two women were found walking away from a car accident in Plainfield. While medical services were evaluating them, they both descended a steep bank toward Great Brook. The Brook was 5 feet above it’s normal level due to excessive snow melt and rainfall. The driver of the vehicle immediately came back up the bank advising her passenger had fallen in the swollen brook. Plainfield emergency services conducted a shoreline search without success. Colchester and Stowe teams both evaluated river condition and made plans for a search the next day.

Colchester, Stowe, and Plainfield teams conducted a thorough shoreline search of the Great Brook to the confluence of the Winooski River. This search located several belongings of the missing subject, but was unsuccessful in locating the subject. The Winooski River was then searched by kayak with a ground support team and shoreline search teams, also without success. A Vermont National Guard helicopter was also used to search the Great Brook and the Winooski River, also without success.

Team Members Responding
Burke, McLean, Miller, Palmer, Reybould, Reinhardt, Rogers, Speer, Van Dyke, Veliko, Wehse, Westervelt

Other Agencies Responding
Vermont State Police, Plainfield Police and Fire Departments, Colchester Technical Rescue, Vermont National Guard

Time of Call
22:00 – 18:00

Weather Conditions
Rainy, then cold

February 13, 2017

Mount Mansfield Ski Patrol requested assistance locating a missing snowboarder at Stowe Mountain Resort. A male snowboarder who was last seen in the “Kitchen Wall” area at around 3:45 and was reported overdue. Patrol and Stowe Mountain Rescue searched the “Kitchen Wall” and “High Road” but did not locate the man. They then searched the Hazelton hiking trail, also without success.

Additional help was added with state police, Stowe PD, Colchester Technical Rescue and Waterbury Backcountry Rescue. Team one was assigned with preforming a grid search of woods north of Nosedive and Cliff Trails and east of Lower Rimrock. Team two was tasked with searching the Woods south of the Cliff Trail and west of Upper Nosedive.

Team two located the subject on the first sweep in a snowpit above an unfrozen stream. He was determined to be unresponsive and CPR was started. He was evacuated to the Cliff Trail and a waiting snowcat. The patient was transferred to Stowe Rescue Squad for transportation to UVM Medical Center.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, VanDyke, Westervelt, Wehse, Raybold

Other Agencies Responding

Time of Call
21:45 – 02:00

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