Search and Rescue

Sep 132004
Authors: Dave Curtis

Wayne Scott was lost.

In October of last year, Scott, 68, became separated from his

wife and another couple while hiking up Crown Point Road near

Pingree Park.

At 9 p.m. his wife called rescuers, and members of the Larimer

County Search and Rescue found Scott at about 4 a.m. the next


"I wasn’t really worried about being lost, I knew about

where I was, but if they hadn’t come to get me I probably would’ve

waited another hour or two before I got myself out." Scott


According to Don Davis, manager for LCSAR, it could happen to

anyone: walking along a well-worn trail in the mountains when one

is suddenly caught on the mountain, in the dark, unprepared for the

conditions. No flashlight. No rain gear. No tent.

According to Davis, in order to prevent getting lost, all

outdoor adventurers should take certain precautions before leaving

for an outdoor activity, such as letting someone know their planed

destination and expected return time. Davis said that small piece

of information is one of the most important clues that will lead

him and his team to the missing individual – and get the missing

person home safely.

"We find people by following clues. The more clues you

leave behind, the easier it’s going to be for us to find you."

Davis said.

The LCSAR is a volunteer organization dedicated mainly to

rescuing lost or injured people in the wilderness areas within

Larimer County.

Members of the LCSAR generally maintain other jobs outside of

their volunteer work and are required to wear a pager issued to

them by the team. This pager allows the headquarters to contact

volunteers at all times of day with any "missions" that

might occur.

According to Davis, the LCSAR generally functions on about 75

"mission-calls" a year.

Those missions fall into one of two categories: either rescues

of stranded or injured climbers or searches that involve anything

from finding a lost hiker, to recovering bodies and even helping

local law enforcement officers root out suspects who might be

hiding in the wilderness.

"’Bastard searches,’ in the SAR community, that’s what we

call them. As in, ‘that bastard,’" Davis said. "These are

people who have personal problems and financial problems and they

go into the backcountry because they want to fake their death. One

person had a warrant out for their arrest so they faked their death

in the mountains. We searched for seven days and didn’t find them.

He turned up six months later in California on a routine traffic


Besides any backcountry related accidents, which occur inside

Larimer County, LCSAR members are also often called upon to assist

in other parts of the state, such as search teams from El Paso and

Douglas Counties.


For additional information, visit our website at


For questions about training, requirements or any

other areas of LCSAR feel free to contact one or all of the


Eric 970 566-0025

Justin 970 227-1233

Janice 970 222-7758

Or email us at:


Last year, several LCSAR members were sent to Florida in

February to help officials with the Columbia space shuttle


Other than missions, members of the LCSAR are sometimes asked to

teach preventive search and rescue classes at local schools, civic

organizations and clubs.

Classes are designed to provide the public with an understanding

of general wilderness safety techniques like building fires, making

a shelter and what to do if lost.

Davis said members usually give about 500 to 600 hours a year on


"The hours can be overwhelming," said Janice

Weixelman, a Search One volunteer of the LCSAR. "Over time

people will drop out and every year we need new members."

The LCSAR is currently accepting applications for volunteers to

fill up some positions left from last year. Specifically, they need

about 80 to 100 available volunteers to draw from for each


Weixelman stressed that they are looking for people that

understand the time commitment.

Scott said the LCSAR team is "real friendly, nice and

professional." And he urges the locals to "…donate

something once in awhile."

"This group is a really dedicated group," he said.

"They don’t get too much from the people – a lot of it they

have to buy themselves."

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