March 3, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Craig Daily Press "Local teens recall cold night spent in Routt National Forest"

Jerry Martin:
"Dig a pit and get ready to wait.

That was 17-year-old Moffat County resident Justin McAlexander’s first thought when he realized he and his two friends, brothers Jesse and Mason Burke, 17 and 13 respectively, had become stranded Feb. 19 while snowmobiling on Black Mountain near Freeman Reservoir.

“It’s instinct, you’ve got to do this to survive,” said McAlexander, who’s been involved in Boy Scouts since fifth grade and attained the rank of Life Scout.

The group set out from Craig with two snowmobiles about 7 a.m.

Two hours later, they arrived at the base of Black Mountain, an area McAlexander often snowmobiles.

For the Burke brothers, it was their first time snowmobiling in the backcountry.

“We’ve rode around on little fields with like two or three feet of snow, but this was our first time up in the mountains,” Jesse said.

The three teens said the first sign of trouble came about 1 p.m., when they arrived at an area known locally as “top of the world.” There, they encountered bad visibility and poor snow conditions, which made moving difficult.

“There was no base (to the snow), so it was all fresh powder,” McAlexander said. “Your sled digs but it never hits anything hard, so you won’t move. You just dig holes....”  (Read more?  Click title)

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