It was 11 am on Tuesday, March 7th, 2017, when 57-year-old Steve Leavitt scanned his ski pass on the Heather Canyon Chairlift and that was the last time anyone has seen or heard of Steve Leavitt. The missing skier, according to his family, has experience in wildlife and survival and they seem very hopeful considering the situation. The search crews are continuing their search and even joining up with 304th Airforce rescue unit. The only problem is that after several days of consistent snow, a rainstorm arrived, making the search even more difficult to find Steve Leavitt.
Between high winds, avalanche dangers and heavy snow, the search for Steve Leavitt will be difficult. And now with the rain-storm, shutting the lifts down, the search is even slower, considering any ski tracks or visible tracking clues will be erased by the heavy rain.
In another recent story, Ryan Montoya, 23, went missing after one of the nastiest winter storms of the season appeared while he was hiking. He was found and rescued this last Tuesday, the same day Steve Leavitt went missing. Although we don’t know what has happened thus far with Steve Leavitt missing, I found Ryan Montoya’s story inspiring and motivating. The danger’s of being lost or injured while alone in the wilderness can be frightening, but you can become educated on survival to increase your chances of living. Let’s just hope Steve Leavitt is out there giving it his best as far as survival goes like Ryan Montoya.
Ryan Montoya’s story:
“Saturday he parked, hiked in 9 miles and built a snow cave and slept.
He moved out from that cave early Sunday morning to summit the peak. Regarding that avalanche, Ryan had already determined that that avalanche had already occurred which was why he continued to climb. So that was not an issue. He was about 40 feet from the summit when a “cornice” (a piece of ice and snow) broke when he stepped on it. That’s why he fell.
He fell down the East face of the mountain about 1500 to 2,000 feet. He said that that was a long enough fall to do a lot of talking, thinking and yelling all the way down. Parts of it were free to fall. He busted a chunk out of his helmet. He dislocated his elbow and fractured his pelvis in the fall. Once he came to rest on a snow field he saw some water, pulled out his shovel and used it as a sled to slide down toward the water. He built a snow cave with one arm for that first night (Sunday night) and hunkered down. He DID have an emergency Bivvy sack, which helped. He had enough fuel to heat snow and make water.
The next day (Monday) he stayed put because-because of the weather and he needed rest. But at about 2 or 3 he moved on following a creek to stay near water. Before nightfall, he made another snow cave (he says a pretty crappy one!) and hunkered down again for Monday night.
The next day (today) he eventually got moving again and made his way along the stream to a road and walked along that road until he saw a runner and he yelled at the runner and the runner figured out that he was the Missing Climber dude and he was able to get the attention of some of the search and rescue people who then got Ryan to a nearby rescue station.
I think we already said it, but the doctor said and a nurse later confirmed that NO ONE falls down that face and survives, let alone walks out on his own power! And the weather was terrible between when he fell and today: 100 mph winds over the peak, and blizzard conditions. All the hospital staff and rescue people and sheriff’s deputies were elated.
At this point, he is on his way to University Hospital in Denver to treat Frostbite on his right hand so he doesn’t lose parts of his fingers. He got it partly due to the fact that he had to do everything with that hand because of his dislocated left elbow. His glove got wet and froze. Denver’s burn unit apparently has a great team to deal with this kind of thing”.
Ryan Montoya’s story is remarkable. And along with everyone in tune to Steve Leavitt being missing, I am hoping he is ok and survives to tell his tale like Ryan Montoya. The skills needed to survive should be learned by everyone since no one is sure of when they’ll be lost or caught in the middle of a natural disaster. Things happen and its best to be prepared. Some companies like Goruck actually have “courses” that teach you have to navigate places from the wilderness to utilizing survival skills in a natural disaster.
“GORUCK Constellation trains you to be a hard target and a protector of what you hold dear. This is not an “offensive” event by design. Firearms and combatives training are not part of this event. You and your cell will move throughout the city with a rucksack of supplies and learn what escape and evasion looks and feels like in a time of chaos. Once you see the constellations, you know exactly how to find them no matter where you are. This knowledge makes you a hard target.”
“GORUCK Navigator courses are wilderness based orienteering and survival courses that cover the basics of route planning, map reading, compass and GPS use, wilderness survival skills, and field applications. Whether you are an experienced backcountry hiker, or a novice with no outdoor experience, your GORUCK Cadre will ensure that you walk away with new skills and the ability to venture into the outdoors armed with expert knowledge and first hand field experience.”
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