Randy Udall of Carbondale missing in Wyoming since June 26 | AspenTimes.com
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Randy Udall of Carbondale missing in Wyoming since June 26

John Colson
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

CARBONDALE — Environmentalist James “Randy” Udall, 61, has been reported missing in the Wind River Range of western Wyoming, near the town of Pinedale, after he reportedly went hiking alone and failed to return as scheduled on June 26.

His daughter, Ren Udall, confirmed to the Post Independent on Monday that her father was missing and that search-and-rescue teams were hunting for him.

She declined to say more, explaining, “We’re just trying to keep the phones open and do some logistical work from here.”

According to reports on Pinedale.com, Udall headed out from Elkhart Park, a popular trailhead, into the Wind Rivers, located close to Pinedale.

According to Deputy Steve Smith, of the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office, Udall’s family called the Sheriff’s Office on June 28, and the Tip Top Search and Rescue organization started searching that day andcontinued to search on Monday.

The search-and-rescue operation, according to a statement from Sublette County Sheriff Dave Lankford, has involved ground teams and aerial sweeps by helicopter and is focused on an area approximately 225 square miles in circumference.

Udall, brother of Sens. Mark Udall, of Colorado, and Tom Udall, of New Mexico, and also a son of the late Morris “Mo” Udall, of Arizona, reportedly had planned on backpacking alone for nearly a week starting June 20. He is known to be an experienced mountaineer and to have hiked in the Wind River Range numerous times.

Udall, a locally well-known advocate for alternative energy and the need to protect the environment from overdevelopment, co-founded and was the original director of a valleywide energy-efficiency organization called the Community Office for Resource Efficiency, or CORE.

Udall also has been an outspoken critic of the oil-and-gas recovery method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is in widespread use around the U.S. and in western Colorado, particularly in Garfield County,

A Facebook appeal for expert wilderness hikers who might help with the search-and-rescue effort was issued late Sunday by friends in Carbondale.

The same Facebook posting asked recipients to offer “prayers for Randy and family.”

Both Ren Udall and Smith said Monday that there had been “no news” about Randy Udall that day.

jcolson@postindependent.com


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