Members of the Juneau Snowmobile Club roared into action on Dec. 30, 2016, helping two exhausted hikers out of a potentially deadly situation.
According to Alaska State Troopers, a pair of Juneau snowshoers reported they were cold, wet and exhausted on the Montana Creek Trail near Juneau. The two had been snowshoeing from the Windfall Lake cabin and got into deep snow. They also got wet during a stream crossing, Troopers reported.
The Juneau Mountain Rescue group and three members of the Juneau Snowmobile Club – club president Corey Baxter, vice president Justin Derr and senior board member Mike Laudert – responded to the area and the club members were able to locate the imperiled hikers and bring them back to the trailhead. Aside from being cold and wet, the hikers reported no injuries.
Derr said the rescue took place in windy conditions and heavy snow.
“We had to go about seven miles to them in the darkness in a blizzard and two feet of powder,” Derr said.
The club regularly hosts safety events and mock rescues. Derr said the area around Juneau is “a lot of rough terrain” with ever-changing weather.
“We ride from sea level up to 4,000 feet or above, we’re vertical,” he said.
In the case of the December rescue, the three men rode 2,700 vertical feet and 14 miles round trip to recover the stranded hikers, who were stuck on the Montana Creek Trail near Windfall Lake.
Durr said the club is called upon to help out with one or two such incidents each winter.
“It’s a good feeling,” he said. “I hope to never be in that position myself, but I’m always happy to offer my services.”
Derr said riding in the Juneau area has been good this winter, with plenty of snow in the mountains around the capital city.
“The snow’s great and we’re riding,” he said. “We only have two main trails and both are open.”