Injured hiker survived night in snow shelter in Hyalite Canyon
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: May 13, 2024

On May 11, 2024, at 8:04 AM, Gallatin County 911 Dispatch was notified of an overdue mountain biker/hiker, likely in the area of Hyalite Canyon who had been expected to return home the previous night.

Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Deputies determined the man had left for a hike at approximately 9:00 AM on May 10th and had not been heard from since. Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue (GCSSAR) was dispatched to conduct a backcountry search and a short time later, the missing hiker’s vehicle was located in Hyalite Canyon.

GCSSAR Command deployed the SAR Communications Team, SAR K-9 Search Teams, SAR Drone Team, and a SAR Helicopter Team to the Hyalite area to search for the hiker. Searchers located possible tracks for the subject around 9:30 AM in the Palisade area of Hyalite Canyon and at 1:18 PM located the missing hiker walking out to the Hyalite Reservoir parking lot.  The hiker had been in the Palisade area when he suffered a fall. With dead cell phone batteries, and unable to walk out that night, the subject built a snow-cave shelter in order to survive a cold night.

GCSSAR conducted a medical evaluation of the hiker and determined he had suffered from cold exposure, possible head and back injuries, and was badly dehydrated. A paramedic unit with American Medical Response was dispatched to the area to transport the hiker to Bozeman Health Deaconess Regional Medical Center for further evaluation.

Sheriff Dan Springer would like to commend the hiker for utilizing wilderness survival skills while spending the night in the back country and would like to remind recreationalists to always carry sufficient food, water, cold weather gear and multiple means of communication to contact Search and Rescue if needed.

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