Hunter suffers frostbite after spending night lost outdoors
November 8, 2002
A part-time Snowmass Village resident walked out of the woods near Woody Creek Thursday morning after spending a cold night lost in the wilderness.
Christopher Woods, 42, was being treated for frostbite on his feet at Aspen Valley Hospital last night. A friend of his contacted police and Mountain Rescue Aspen after Woods contacted her around 6 p.m. to say he was lost.
According to Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy George Kremer, Woods, who also resides in Indiana, had been hunting when he became disoriented in the Collins Creek area. Walking down into a small drainage known as Hannah Creek, Woods became more lost. Night fell, and as temperatures plunged, he began to exhibit signs of hypothermia.
Woods told authorities on a cell phone he had lost his lighter earlier that day and did not have any matches. He also said he had dropped his rifle in the muddy and snowy terrain and could not fire it.
Kremer said Woods told authorities later that he had heard the voices of Mountain Rescue Aspen, but they had not heard him shout back. Hunters at a campsite just down Hannah Creek told police they might have heard Woods later that night.
The search for Woods was scaled back Wednesday evening because of darkness. Around 8 a.m. Thursday Woods began walking down the drainage until he reached the hunters’ camp about five miles up Woody Creek Road around 11 a.m.
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Kremer said a quick medical check revealed significant frostbite on Woods’ feet, heels and ankles, and he was transported to the hospital.
“It wasn’t that cold last night, but he did show signs that his core temperature had dropped,” Kremer said.
Approximately 28 members of Mountain Rescue Aspen, West Eagle Search and Rescue, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Aspen Air Rescue participated in the early morning effort to find Woods.