Local snowmobilers rescued on Mt. Rose
Sun News Service
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. ” Search teams rescued two Truckee men from the Tahoe Meadows area of Mount Rose Summit Wednesday night after the pair lodged their snowmobiles in a ravine
Christian Schroeder, 22, and Silas Stannard, 20, tried for several hours to free their snowmobiles but finally gave up and attempted to walk out to the main road, said Washoe County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Mike Matthews. Matthews was one of 30 search and rescue officials who spent four hours Wednesday night looking for the men.
“They tried to walk to the highway and got lost once it got dark,” Matthews said. “They managed to get a 911 call in around 6:30 p.m. and two rescuers on snowshoes reached them just after 10 p.m.”
Schroeder and Stannard were located approximately one mile Northwest of Incline Lake, said Matthews. They were wearing minimal snowboard-type clothing and had no flashlight or GPS unit, he said. They did have a cell phone with a limited battery and a VHF Motorola radio which they used to communicate with search and rescue teams.
“They were very frightened and disoriented when we made initial voice contact,” Matthews said. “Once the cell phone went dead we used the VHF radios to calm them down and instructed them to build a fire and stay where they were.”
Schroeder used his lighter to ignite a piece of his T-shirt and the two were able to stay warm until rescue teams arrived, said Matthews.
Greg McKay, a battalion chief for North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District involved in Wednesday’s search, said rescue teams were worried about the two men’s physical condition in the cold.
“Hypothermia is always a concern,” he said. “But we were able to instruct them to build a fire and that helped them dry out and stay warm until we arrived.”
Matthews said Schroeder and Stannard could have been found much quicker after they initially called 911 if they would have had a GPS unit to translate their exact location.
“We could hear them,” he said, “but voice contact isn’t enough to find someone in the heavy timber, the dark and the snow conditions in these mountains.”
Wayne Fischer, president of the North Tahoe Snow Travelers, recently organized a GPS class for his club members and said his GPS unit is one of the most vital pieces of equipment he rides with.
“Cell phones don’t always work, and for a $100 you get a good GPS unit,” Fischer said. “It makes a great Christmas present and it can save your life.”
Units from Washoe County’s Search and Rescue Hasty Team, which is a specialized backcountry technical rescue team; Washoe County Special Vehicle Unit and the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Search and Rescue took part in the search.
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Over the past year, various “keep out” signs have appeared near the Hirschdale Bridge, causing concerns for river users. Those concerns led to a community meeting last week