Body of missing snowmobiler found
Aspen, CO Colorado
EAGLE, Colo. ” A search and rescue team on Thursday found the body of a Colorado man who died on a snowmobile trip.
Two companions survived. It was at least the sixth backcountry recreation death this winter.
A rescue team from Vail Mountain found the body of John McKibben of Kremmling in the Blue River Valley.
McKibben and two companions got lost during a planned one-day outing to Spring Creek Ranch on Sunday when heavy snow and strong winds began moving into the area. The other two, Craig Morris of Florida and Murry Melloni of Littleton, were rescued Tuesday.
They told search crews McKibben died Monday night.
Morris and Melloni were treated for frostbite at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.
Elsewhere in Colorado, two snowboarders have been missing for almost a month near Wolf Creek Pass Ski Area and are feared dead. A hiker was reported missing at almost the same time near Blanca Peak in Alamosa County, and two skiers died in avalanches in the East Chutes just outside the Vail Ski area in separate incidents last month.
Two snowriders have died at the Steamboat Springs area.
It has been a deadly period throughout the West as a dry fall was followed by heavy snow and rain that produced dozens of avalanches as well as flooding.
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There is a lot of pent up energy among hikers and bikers to get into the high country, but snow fields, avalanche debris and high stream crossings are presenting challenges later than usual. Forest rangers with the Aspen-Sopris District provide trail condition reports that are updated each week so hikers and backpackers aren’t caught unaware.