December 1, 2018

Lost Skier (Cottonbrook)

At approximately 3pm on Saturday 12/1, Stowe Mountain Rescue was requested by the Vermont State Police to respond to the Cottonbrook area to assist in locating a lost skier.  The subject had been skiing off the Catamount Trail between Bolton Ski Resort and Nebraska Valley when he became separated from his ski partner.  After an hour of searching for his partner and subsequently breaking his ski binding he realized he needed assistance and activated his SPOT satellite beacon (which sends a distress signal with specific GPS coordinates).

SMR deployed a team of 3 up the Cottonbrook Road to search for the missing skier.  Due to significant tree damage on the road, the team used the VAST trail to access the upper-most portion of the Cottonbrook Rd, near where the lost skier was being tracked through the SPOT system.

SMR located the skier just after darkness fell on the area.   He was walking on the Cottonbrook Road in southerly direction approximately 1.75 miles from the initial beacon location.  SMR returned him to the Cottonbrook parking lot where he was given a ride into Stowe and reunited with his ski partner who had been able to ski out on his own after becoming separated 4 hours earlier.

Team Members Responding
Westervelt, Speer, Wehse, Raybold, Millick, Clymer

Other Agencies Responding
VT Dept of Public Safety

Time of Call
3:00 – 6:00 PM

Weather Conditions
Overcast, Calm, 25 deg F

October 8, 2018

Lost Horseback Riders (Beaver Meadow Trail / Morrisville)

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) was requested to support a search for two mountain bikers who reported themselves lost near Beaver Meadow in Morrisville.

Initial 911 call was made in sparse cell phone coverage so only partial information was relayed to SMR.   By the time SMR reached the scene, the lost bikers had made secondary contact with 911 dispatch and clarified they were on horses and had been traveling on and near the VAST Trail near Beaver Meadow. The 911 telephone signal captured a precise Lat/Long location that placed them between the VAST Trail and the Beaver Meadow Trail.

A team of four SMR searchers were dispatched up the Beaver Meadow trail via ATV. The Lat/Long coordinate identified the party about a half mile off the Beaver Meadow trail up on the North ridge.  The searchers made whistle and then voice contact after a quick 10-minute walk up the hillside.  The lost riders were in good condition.  The horse riders were walked down to the Beaver Meadow trail without incident.

Team Members Responding
Burke, Wehse, Choularton, Clymer

Other Agencies Responding
Morrisville Police Dept.

Time of Call
1:15 – 3:30 PM

Weather Conditions
Overcast, Calm, 50 deg F

October 7, 2018

Sick Hiker (Lake Mansfield Trail / Nebraska Notch)

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) received third party notification of a 19 year-old male camping at Taylor Lodge experiencing seizures Sunday morning.  Taylor Lodge has minimal / sporadic cell coverage resulting in very sparse communications.  He was reportedly hiking / camping with several friends and experienced two seizures early in the morning. He has a history of seizures, but has not taken his medication for the past two days.

The patient was reported to be feeling better after the second seizure and the party started hiking down the Lake Mansfield Trail.  Assistance was not requested at this time.  Cell coverage further deteriorates during the descent towards Lake Mansfield.

SMR was concerned that if the patient’s condition worsened, it would difficult for the party to request timely assistance, so SMR tasked two rescuers to hike up the Lake Mansfield Trail to meet the party.  The party was met about 0.5 miles from Taylor Lodge (at ~1,600).  The patient had just experienced a third seizure and was unresponsive to verbal stimuli.  A litter team was fielded immediately by personnel standing by at Lake Mansfield.  The patient slowly regained consciousness and vomited several times.  He was packaged in a litter and wheel and evacuated to SMR’s pickup truck which was located at the north/west end of Lake Mansfield.  The patient was then delivered to Stowe Rescue at the Trout Club for transportation to Copley Hospital.

Team Members Responding

Veliko, Westervelt, Miller, Wehse, Rogers, Raybold, Chegwidden, Choularton

Other Agencies Responding
Stowe Rescue

Time of Call
10:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Weather Conditions
Overcast, Calm, 55 deg F

September 18, 2018

Injured Hiker (Halfway House Trail / Mt. Mansfield)

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) responded to the report of a female subject on the Halfway House trail on Mt. Mansfield with a knee injury.  The patient was at 3,100′, about 800′ in elevation below the Mansfield Ridge in Underhill.

Underhill/Jericho Fire Dept (UJFD) was the primary responding agency and established incident command in Underhill State Park.  UJFD dispatched a litter team from the State Park and SMR dispatched a hasty team to assist with any required rope / lowering systems.

The patient was located, evaluated, her injury immobilized and packaged in a litter/wheel.  She was evacuated down the Halfway House Trail without incident to the CCC Road and delivered to Essex Rescue.

Team Members Responding

Clymer, Choularton

Other Agencies Responding
VT State Police (VSP)
Underhill-Jericho Fire Dept (UJFD)
Colchester Technical Rescue (CTR)
Camels Hump Back-country Rescue (CHBR)
Waterbury Back-Country Rescue (WBCR)

Time of Call
7:00 PM – Midnight

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 65 deg F

September 13, 2018

Injured Hiker (Long Trail / Mt. Mansfield)

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) received a report of a 60 year-old female hiking the Long Trail (LT) on Mt. Mansfield, slipped while crossing a stream, injuring her lower leg / ankle.  She sustained the injury at the major stream crossing at 2400′ between Route 108 & Taft Lodge on the Long Trail.

With the assistance of her husband, she attempted to walk out on the injury.  She made it down about 100′ in elevation on the trail before pain prevented further progress.  At this point they called 911 for assistance.

An SMR hasty team hiked up the LT from Route 108 to access the patient while the litter team used a UTV to access the LT at ~3000′ off of the Chin Clip ski trail and moved the litter down to the patient.

The patient’s injury was assessed and immobilized; she was then packaged in a litter and evacuated down the LT to Route 108.  Two lowering system was used for the evacuation.

Team Members Responding
Speer, McLean, Millick, Chegwidden, Warren, Sargent

Other Agencies Responding
Stowe Rescue

Time of Call
11:00A M – 2:00 PM

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 65 deg F

September 2, 2018

Injured Hiker-1 (Cliff Trail)

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) received a report of a male subject with a dislocated shoulder on the Cliff Trail (Mt. Mansfield) in the area of the metal ringed ladder just above Cliff House.  His party applied a sling, decided to self evacuate up the Cliff Trail to the LT south and to the top of the Toll Road / Visitors Center.

A responding SMR team member was hiking on the ridge and ran into the injured party at the top of the Cliff Trail.  The SMR team member walked the subject out to the Visitors Center, where he was picked up by Stowe Police Dept (SPD), driven down the Toll Road and transferred to Stowe EMS for transport to Copley Hospital.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Miller

Other Agencies Responding
Stowe Police Dept (SPD)

Stowe Rescue

Time of Call
2:15PM – 4:15 PM

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 65 deg F

September 2, 2018

Injured Hiker-2 (Cliff Trail)

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) received a report of a 24 year-old female subject with a dislocated right shoulder on the Cliff Trail, on Mt Mansfield, in the area of the ‘Lemon Squeeze.’  She was evaluated and found to have good circulation and motor skills distal to the injury, but complained of numbness in her right arm.  Her pain level was a 9 on a scale of 0-10.  The shoulder was immobilized with a sling, swath and figure-eight shoulder wrap.  She was placed in a harness and short roped with a rescuer on each side of her.  She was able to walk out to the Cliff House with considerable assistance.  She was down loaded into the Gondola and transferred to Waterbury Ambulance (both Stowe ambulances were busy) for transport to Copley Hospital.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Speer, Millier, Chegwidden, Clymer, Choularton

Other Agencies Responding
Stowe Police Dept (SPD)

Stowe Rescue

Time of Call
2:45 PM – 4:15 PM

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 70 deg F

August 30, 2018

Glider Crash (Day 2:  Recovery)

Extrication of three fatalities resulting from a glider accident near the summit of Whiteface Mountain.

VSP SAR established a Command Post and Staging Area at Beaver Meadows trail head.

A total of ~50 rescuers were assembled including VSP SAR (~10), VT F&W (~10), MFD (~10), SMR (10), Waterbury Back-Country Rescue (~3), Colchester Technical Rescue (3), Camels Back-Country Rescue / Huntington FD (~4).

VT DPS SAR Coordinator was assigned Field Operations, SMR Chief was assigned Rope Operations, seven SMR technicians were assigned to rope management, and two SMR personnel assigned as Litter Team Leaders.  Colchester’s Deputy Chief was assigned Litter Team Leader for the third litter.

MPD, VSP & F&W worked to complete the on-site investigation at the crash site, while resources were moved up toward the summit of Whiteface.  The subjects were extricated from the aircraft and placed into body bags, then moved into three litters for the extrication.

The 0.4 miles of Long Trail from the summit of Whiteface to Whiteface Lodge is steep, narrow, rocky and technically difficult, requiring lowering systems for the vast majority of its distance. The mile down the Whiteface Trail is also difficult and required some lowering systems, but was easier than the 0.4 mile along the LT.  The litter carry was executed without incident, with excellent teamwork across multiple organizations.  The recovery team & subjects were then shuttled back to the Beaver Meadow trail head with UTVs.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Eykelhoff, Ruschp, Speer, McLean, Burke, Millick, Chegwidden, Warren, Clymer, Sargent

Other Agencies Responding
VSP SAR Coordinator

Colchester Technical Rescue

Cambridge Fire/Rescue

VSP SAR

DPS SAR

VT Fish and Wildlife (F&W)

Morrisville Police Dept (MPD)

Morrisville Fire Dept (MFD)

Time of Call
8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Weather Conditions
Overcast, Calm, 65 deg F

August 29, 2018

Glider Crash (Day 1:  Search)

Report of a downed glider near the summit of Whiteface Mountain (the northern most peak of the Sterling Range).

A glider tour was reported overdue by the Morrisville – Stowe Airport.  Morrisville Police Dept (MVPD), Stowe Police Dept (SPD) and VT State Police (VSP) were notified, started an investigation and established a command post.  A fixed-wing aircraft was deployed to search for the missing plane and successively located the missing glider near the summit of Whiteface Mountain.  The search pilot described the aircraft as being about a hundred feet in elevation below the summit on a south easterly ridge line.  A Civil Air Patrol (CAP) aircraft then flew over and obtained GPS coordinates of the downed glider.  These coordinates differed slightly from the visual description (the delta was 1.5 seconds N & 5.4 seconds W), placing the aircraft on the south face about 160′ below the summit.

A Command Post and Staging Area was established at Beaver Meadow Trail Head.  A hasty team of seven was deployed to locate the downed aircraft and assess injuries.  Five SMR team members and two Fish & Wildlife Wardens with were shuttled up the Beaver Meadow Trail with UTVs & ATVs to the base of Whiteface Mountain Trail at an elevation of 2240′.  From this location, it is approximately a 1-mile walk to the Whiteface Shelter at an elevation of 3100′); the summit of Whiteface is another 0.4 miles north on the Long Trail at an elevation of 3700′.

The hasty team was directed to the CAP coordinates while additional SMR, VSP & F&W personnel started moving evacuation equipment up the Whiteface Mountain Trail to the Whiteface Shelter.

The hasty team hiked up the LT to an elevation of 3540 feet and contoured south east off trail to the CAP coordinates.  The team arrived at the coordinates with no sighting of the aircraft.  A grid search of an area around the coordinates was also unsuccessful.  The hasty team then moved to the coordinates of the visual description of aircraft and once the south-easterly ridge was scaled, the aircraft was located 80′ in elevation below the summit.  The pilot and two passengers were assessed and sadly did not survive the crash.

Preparations were made for a three-person body recovery from the summit of Whiteface Mountain the following day.  The hasty team cut a rough trail to the summit, while the required evacuation equipment was being carried and staged at Whiteface Shelter.  A total of five personnel from SMR, VSP & VT F&W spent the night at the shelter, while the balance of the teams hiked back down to the Beaver Meadow Trail and shuttled back to the Staging Area by UTVs.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Eykelhoff, Westervelt, McLean, Rogers, Ruschp, Speer, Millick, Chegwidden, Clymer, Sargent

Other Agencies Responding
VSP SAR Coordinator

Cambridge Fire/Rescue

Morrisville Police Dept (MPD)

Morrisville Fire Dept (MFD)

DSP
VT Fish and Wildlife (F&W)

Time of Call
5:45PM – 1:45 AM

Weather Conditions
Overcast, Calm, 65 deg F

August 29, 2018

Injured Hiker (Sterling Pond Trail)

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) received a report of a 53 year-old female subject with a broken wrist near the outlet of Sterling Pond on the Sterling Pond Trail.

SMR responded from Spruce Base with a UTV and was able to drive to the subject who was on the last steep pitch just before the pond’s outlet.  The subject was evaluated, her wrist immobilized and she was transported back to Spruce Base in the UTV.  The patient was then transferred to Stowe EMS for transport to Copley Hospital.

Team Members Responding
McLean, Speer, Millick

Other Agencies Responding
Cambridge Rescue,
Cambridge Fire Dept.

Time of Call
11:15AM – 1:15 PM

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 75 deg F

August 5, 2018

Stranded Climbers (Smuggler’s Notch)

A 21-year-old male and his 17-year-old sister were scrambling in the gullies of Smuggler’s Notch and became stranded due to darkness and steep terrain.  The two hikers were in the winter ice climb named ‘ENT Gully.’  The female was about 40-50′ further up the gully than her brother.  They called 911 reporting that they were lost.  VT Dept of Public Safety plotted their coordinates from the 911 call and realized the pair was in steep, technical terrain and requested SMR to locate and evacuate the stranded party.

Cambridge Fire and Rescue were dispatched for support.

Using a faint ice climbing decent route to access the top of ENT Gully, SMR established technical rope systems and deployed a rescuer 100’ down ENT Gully to determine in which fork of ENT Gully the subjects were stranded.  It was initially thought the stranded subjects were in the main ENT Gully, but once the SMR rescuer rappelled into the main gully it was determined they were in the gully just south (skier right) of the main ENT Gully.  Rescue systems were re-established directly above the stranded party and two rescuers were deployed.   They provided the subjects with helmets & harnesses, secured the subjects to their rope systems and rappelled them to the base of the gully.  The subjects were then short roped down the approach scree gully to Route 108 without incident.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Ruschp, Rogers, Wehse, Millick, Sergeant, Choularton, Clymer

Other Agencies Responding
VSP SAR Coordinator

Cambridge Fire/Rescue

Time of Call
9:15PM – 1:00 AM

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 75 deg F

July 27, 2018

Stranded Climbers (Smuggler’s Notch)

Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) responded to a report of two 20 year-old males who had scrambled up the winter ice climb ‘Pub Crawl’ on ‘Old Smuggler’s Face and became stranded.   This is the main cliff behind the parking lot and Visitors Center in Smuggler’s Notch.  Pub Crawl ascends the major, right lean corner system on the north/central section of the cliff.  The two males followed the corner system climbing ~240′ to a large ledge (2nd belay on Pub Crawl).  They were not able to down climb the route and were unsure how to proceed so they called 911.

They reported themselves as lost which routed the call to the VT Dept of Public Safety SAR coordinator.  Once it was determined the subjects required extrication from a cliff, SMR was requested.  SMR, Cambridge Rescue and Cambridge Fire were dispatched.

The stranded party was reached by skirting the north end of the cliff face, using a vague climbers decent trail (ENT Gully/Jefferson Slide/top of cliff).  The party was provided helmets and harnesses and were short roped down the decent trail and returned safely to the parking lot without incident.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Rheinhardt, Speer, Ruschp, McLean, Burke, Wehse, Millick, Chegwidden, Sergeant, Choularton, Clymer

Other Agencies Responding
VSP SAR Coordinator

Cambridge Fire

Cambridge Rescue

Time of Call
2:05 PM – 5:00 PM

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 75 deg F

July 7, 2018

Injured Biker

Mountain Biker injured while biking in Cotton Brook area.  Stowe Mountain Rescue (SMR) accessed patient via pickup with Stowe Rescue Squad Medic.  Patient was assessed, packaged and driven to gate where he was transferred to SRS for further care and treatment.

Team Members Responding
Veliko, Govoni, Rheinhardt, Westervelt, Wehse

Other Agencies Responding
Stowe Police Dept. (SPD)

Stowe Rescue Squad (SRS)

Time of Call
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Weather Conditions
Clear, Calm, 65 deg F