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Search Ends Happily at Rocky Mountain National Park

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Date: November 7, 2006
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363

Park staff at Rocky Mountain National Park received a phone call yesterday afternoon that Brian Jorrey, 25, from Carrollton, Texas was missing and was last seen by his uncle and aunt near an overlook west and above Nymph Lake at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, November 5. Park dispatch was notified through the emergency phone located at Bear Lake at approximately 5:15 p.m. It was assumed that Brian had continued up the trail toward Dream Lake and Emerald Lake.

A park ranger started up the trail at 5:30 p.m. and reached Emerald Lake (1.8 miles from the trailhead) at 6:40 p.m. There is 20 inches of snow at Bear Lake located at 9,475 feet, and more snow at higher elevations. There was no sign of Brian at Emerald Lake or along the trail. Thirteen park rangers were involved in this incident and looked throughout the night for Brian. There was light snow falling early in the evening along with winds and overnight temperatures in the 30s. There was also a full moon. Rangers looked for tracks and shouted and used sirens to try and find Brian. However, the winds hampered sounds from traveling far.

Brian was found at 4:21 a.m. just below Lake Haiyaha at approximately 10,220 feet, 2.1 miles from the trailhead. Instead of traveling west toward Emerald Lake from Dream Lake, as was initially discussed, Brian headed south to Lake Haiyaha. He was in good condition and good spirits and was extremely thankful to see park rangers. He was very wet from “postholing” through deep snow. Brian was wearing blue jeans under other cotton pants and had a waterproof jacket with a hood. He was wearing nylon boots but did not have a hat, gloves or snowshoes. Brian walked out with the rangers and reached the trailhead at 5:26 a.m. Estes Park Medical Center paramedics cleared and released Brian at the trailhead. Additional search and rescue resources were being planned for this morning.

Park visitors are encouraged to stay together, particularly when traveling in unfamiliar areas. Visitors are also reminded to prepare for winter weather and early darkness when enjoying Rocky Mountain National Park this time of year. Additional safety information regarding visiting Rocky Mountain National Park can be obtained from the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/yoursafety.htm, from the park newspaper or by calling the park information office at (970) 586-1206.

Did You Know?

Ptarmigan in summer camouflage

The ptarmigan is camouflaged perfectly in summer, with "mottled rock" color, and in winter, when it takes on the color of snow.