Summit County Search and Rescue responded to several calls in the backcountry last weekend, and with additional snow accumulating and more expected in the days to come, those recreating in the backcountry will need to take extra precautions.
On Saturday, a man called 911 to report that he was stranded near Thousand Peaks Ranch on Weber Canyon Road after running out of fuel for his snowmobile. Search and Rescue was paged and dispatched and he was later found in good condition.
On Sunday, Search and Rescue responded to two calls, one of which was from a Draper woman who stated that her husband was stuck on his snowmobile above the Soapstone Trailhead in the Uinta Mountains and was going to hike out. The man was communicating via cell phone and deputies later found his truck. He was located by other snowmobilers in the area and was returned to his vehicle safely.
The second call on Sunday came from a Forest Service employee who said that two hikers who were not dressed for the weather had left a trailhead four to five hours earlier and had not returned. A snow storm had picked up in the meantime, but Search and Rescue later found the hikers as they returned safely to the trailhead in good condition.
"With the warm-up and the return of the snow, we've definitely had a situation in the backcountry that is extremely volatile," said Summit County Sheriff's Capt. Justin Martinez. "As ski resorts come to a close and we continue to get more snow, more people will recreate in the backcountry.
Martinez added that bringing along key items in the backcountry is crucial, such as an avalanche beacon, a helmet and a shovel, as well as food, water, matches and emergency clothing. Heading out with multiple people is also a wise idea, he said.
The most recent avalanche forecast update on March 30 from the Utah Avalanche Center said that avalanche danger at upper elevations in the Uinta Mountains is 'Considerable,' while mid-elevation terrain has 'Moderate' danger.
For more information on avalanche danger in the backcountry, visit utahavalanchecenter.org.