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Dog Found (and saved): Mt. Bierstadt!

Dogs, dogs and even some cats
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Let's try to keep the topics related to mountaineering, please.
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Re: Dog Found: Mt. Bierstadt!

Postby wash » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:59 pm

Hello everyone, here is the current rescue plan:

We will be meeting at Guanella Pass Trailhead tomorrow, August 13th, at 5am. From there we will head out along the West Slopes approach to the top of Mt. Bierstadt. We will then head down along the east side of Bierstadt along the Sawtooth, and then head downslope of the Sawtooth trail to where the dog was last seen. I plan on trying to evacuate the dog the same way we came in. Although this may not be the fastest or shortest route, I believe it is the safest approach for everyone involved.

I have only done Bierstadt once (yesterday) and have not taken this particular path before. I'm just taking a guess that it will take 2-3 hours to reach the top of Bierstadt. Then we have to locate and rig up the dog to evacuate her, I'm guessing that could take up to 2 hours. Then we need to bring her back up Bierstadt, my guess is 3 hours there. Then we have to get her back down, so maybe 2 more hours there. All told this could take 10 hours or more.

I could use all of the volunteers that are willing to come. It will require a lot of strength and manpower to get the dog out. Additionally it will probably be difficult to locate her since she may have moved from where she was last seen or taken cover so the more eyes we have the better. If you are willing to help please contact me at <edited> to let me know (text is fine, but please include your name so I can keep track). I'm guessing that a minimum of 6 people to carry her out will be required but obviously having more people will help.

I think I have located a large backpack that could work to get her out but if you have a backpack or any other device that you think would work, please bring it to the trailhead tomorrow. We will evaluate what we have available and bring 2 or 3 options to give ourselves the best chance of bringing her out.

If you have any SAR or rescue experience I would greatly appreciate your advice. Please contact me directly at <edited>.

I am sorry, but I will not be coordinating any attempt at a rescue today. Given the length of time that it will take and the fact that thunderstorms are projected for this afternoon I do not want to jeopardize the safety of anyone involved.

If you went up Bierstadt today and tried to find the dog please contact me directly as well, even if you were unsuccessful. The more information the better.

One final note: there does exist the distinct possibility that we will not be able to locate the dog, or even worse, that she may have passed during the night. I am hopeful but I think it wise to remain realistic about the situation.

Thanks you for all of your responses and offers of assistance,

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Re: Dog Found: Mt. Bierstadt!

Postby SolarAlex » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:08 pm

me and my friend chase will be there at 5am. <edited>

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Re: Dog Found: Mt. Bierstadt!

Postby CCSARCAP » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:09 pm

Not sure if this was mentioned anywhere. But if the dog is found and rescued someone may want to see if the dog was micro chipped. Would be in interesting to find out why someone would not be interested in their own dog when so many on this board are.


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Re: Dog Found: Mt. Bierstadt!

Postby ctomford1 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:42 pm

I will be at Bierstadt to help out tomorrow.

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Re: Dog Found: Mt. Bierstadt!

Postby sjverhaeghe08 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:52 pm

Good luck to all involved in the rescue attempt tomorrow! I wish you good weather, sure footing and send good thoughts for this poor dog's rescue...
"Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."
Edward Whymper

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Re: Dog Found: Mt. Bierstadt!

Postby sue personett » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:15 pm

Good luck everyone!!! I hope you can find her and can rescue her. Don't forget to take food and water for her. Especially water. Best wishes go out to everyone involved in this rescue. You guys are wonderful! I wish you success!!! Be careful out there!
Last edited by sue personett on Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dog Found: Mt. Bierstadt!

Postby Rock-a-Fella » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:04 pm

In the photo the dog has a collar. The OP said there is a rabies tag. Not the easiest method but the rabies tag can be traced back to the issuing vet and then to the dog.

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Re: Dog Found: Mt. Bierstadt!

Postby Erik2 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:47 pm

Hi all,
I just got back from wandering around up there a bit today, so wanted to pass along my info in case any of it is helpful. I also have only scanned the latest comments, so apologies for any redundancies, etc.

First off, Scott, thanks a ton for posting. I was only able to get cell reception at the summit today, and as I started down from the summit the forum discussion was convinced it was a hoax. It probably goes without saying that this led to some dark thoughts on the way out, so I was very glad to see the update when I got home. Thanks for all of your efforts on the dog’s behalf.

And thanks to those of you who went up on the spur of the moment last night. Although I know we can debate the pros and cons of a nighttime search (just as we can debate the wisdom of my solo hike today), it’s clear that the sentiment behind your incredible efforts was pure gold.
Here’s the detailed summary of what I did. Sorry about the length - feel free to skip to my take-home thoughts at the end. I just wanted to include the details in case any of it is useful info to inform tomorrow’s plan.

I left the car about 5:30 this morning (just getting light enough so that you could probably skip the headlamp, although I could still see several lights in use high on the mountain). I got to the top about 7, and there were maybe 10 people there already (Scott’s plan mentioned the estimated time to the summit, so I should probably say that I’m about 6’4” with long legs, so this may not be the best estimate for the speed of a larger group). I didn’t stop at the summit (in hindsight I should definitely have stopped to ask if any of them had seen her, but was anxious to start down to where she had been seen - sorry about that oversight on my part).

From 7ish until about 8:30 I slowly worked my way slowly down to the general spot circled in Scott’s picture, then when I didn’t see anything I worked my way back up to the Sawtooth saddle. 4-5 groups went by doing the Sawtooth from Bierstadt, and one group went by going the other way. This time I did remember to ask all groups within shouting distance about the dog. None of them had seen any sign of her, but promised to post something if they did later. I stopped every minute or so and called and whistled (but I’m a crappy whistler, so she might not have heard even if still there). In addition to the area circled in the pic, I tried to scan from ridgeline down to Abyss Lake just in case she moved during the night. Unfortunately I also saw no sign of her anywhere.

By about 8:30 I started to wonder if she might have moved during the night. I also worried about the possibility that she scrawled into a crevice/cave for shelter, which would probably make her just about impossible to see even in the daylight. On the other hand, I also thought she might have somehow been rejuvenated (or just got sufficiently motivated by thirst, etc.) to move down toward the nearest obvious source of water in Abyss Lake. So, I went down to Abyss Lake along the general path of least resistance, went along the shoreline around the north side (I think it’s north - the left side as you look at the lake while descending), then followed the Abyss Lake trail 2-3 miles down the drainage below the lake.

My original plan was to follow the Abyss Lake trail all the way back around to the trailhead just in case she smelled people and headed down the trail. However, I unfortunately managed to completely lose the trail in the willow thickets down near the bottom of the south ridge. I bushwhacked a bit, but was worried that I would be swallowed by the willow-monster and never heard from again, so reversed direction and climbed back over Bierstadt to descend the standard route, arriving back at my car about 1:30 this afternoon. I tried to scan the area below the sawtooth as much as possible on the way back up, but have to admit that I was pretty wasted by that point. There were a ton of people on the summit, but my sense was that very few had come across the sawtooth, so I didn’t ask most of them about the dog.

From all that, I guess these are my main take-home thoughts:
1) It was pretty warm at 5:30 AM, suggesting that the low temp overnight may have been survivable.
2) There were a ton of people up there today - I’m betting 300+ that I encountered, and I’m sure many more during the time that I went down the drainage. Most of them obviously don’t do the Sawtooth, but it does seem plausible that a number of groups passed through the general area where she was left, and there was no clear evidence that she had been seen today. And while I didn’t talk to very many groups on my way back up, I did keep an eye out for any groups that might have been gathered around her, and didn’t see anything obvious.
3) It’s a very big, convoluted place, and it’s easy to imagine completely missing a dog lying still fairly close by. Having said that, I pretty carefully scanned all of the open flat rocks (like the one in the picture) between the Sawtooth saddle and about 500’ below the saddle, and my gut feeling is that she is no longer in the same place where you left her on Saturday. If I had to bet, it seems like it might be worth looking more specifically in caves/crevices close to where you left her since you can pinpoint the location (although probably not a good outcome if you find her there), or potentially trying to at least scan the broader drainage or elsewhere on the trail (maybe a happier outcome).
4) I truly hope that I never again manage to have to climb the same 14er twice in a day…

I hope at least some of this helps. Good luck to all of you tomorrow!

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Re: Dog Found: Mt. Bierstadt!

Postby hvolmer » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:13 pm

I am a bit more than sick at this. I passed two idiots with that dog as I did the Sawtooth LAST SUNDAY 8/5! Pup was already struggling then and I was rather hacked off. What can you do?

I really hope that I'm missing something in the web forum timing here because if not, that poor pup has been up there for seven days!

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Re: Dog Found: Mt. Bierstadt!

Postby SolarAlex » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:18 pm

i really hope that is not true

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Re: Dog Found: Mt. Bierstadt!

Postby wash » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:52 pm

hvolmer wrote:I am a bit more than sick at this. I passed two idiots with that dog as I did the Sawtooth LAST SUNDAY 8/5! Pup was already struggling then and I was rather hacked off. What can you do?

I really hope that I'm missing something in the web forum timing here because if not, that poor pup has been up there for seven days!

I just want to make sure I'm reading this correctly. Are you saying that you saw this exact dog last Sunday on Sawtooth?

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Re: Dog Found: Mt. Bierstadt!

Postby Hungry Jack » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:55 pm

I am hesitant to post this, but Mrs Jack just told me she heard a radio news report of a body found in the high country of CO, and that there may be a missing dog (this implies that the body may have been id'ed, but not necessairly).

Unfortunately Mrs Jack doesn't recall much detail.

Can anyone corroborate this?


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