Man found alive, uninjured after surviving 3 nights on 14er

CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. -- A Silverthorne man who was reported missing since Saturday on Missouri Mountain in the Collegiate Peaks area has been found alive and uninjured, the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

Shuei Kato, 36, was able to start a fire Tuesday morning, leading to his discovery by search-and-rescue crews.

The search for Kato was suspended late Sunday night after he was reported missing about 2 a.m. Sunday after summiting the 14,075-foot peak in northern Chaffee County on Saturday morning.

Kato was due back in Silverthorne on Saturday afternoon but never returned, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies went to the Missouri Mountain trailhead and found Kato’s vehicle. Chaffee County Search and Rescue North was notified and an extensive search began Sunday.

"The first two nights, I didn't sleep, I basically walked around. ... I was trying to find my way back to the path with a headlight," Kato said.

More than 45 ground searchers and three helicopters looked for Kato, but he was not found.

The search was suspended at nightfall and was scheduled to resume Monday morning, but it was postponed because of the winter storm that moved into the area.

Kato said there were moments that he didn't think he would survive, but he thought of his wife and two young children.

"I brought some rice bowl, beef jerky, two bars of chocolate. I was pretty much down to half of everything the first day after that. [I made it by] being cautious," he said.

Kato said he wasn't as prepared as he should've been, especially hiking at night during bad weather.

Officials resumed the search on Tuesday and found Kato safe. He did not need medical attention, the sheriff's office said.

Members from Chaffee County SAR North and South, Summit Search and Rescue, and Lake County Search and Rescue, and air support from Flight For Life, Reach Air Ambulance, the Air National Guard and HATC in Eagle County, and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control Multimission Aircraft participated in the search.