DENVER (KDVR) — Members of the Taos Search and Rescue team recovered the body of Rich Moore on Oct. 30, 72 days after he went missing. His dog, a Jack Russell terrier, was still alive and by his side.
Moore was reported missing on Aug. 19 after making plans to summit Blackhead Peak, just east of Pagosa Springs. According to missing posters in the area, his dog, Finney, was with him.
Finney was recovered by the Taos Search and Rescue team and later reunited with the family, according to the rescue group.
The Taos Search and Rescue team consists of only volunteers. One member, Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, shared that she was part of the initial search along with her certified search K-9, AkioYodasan.
Vanne-Brightyn said the team searched from just under the peak-top of Blackhead Peak and headed west down the mountain, where 71-year-old Moore’s car was located.
“It was so steep, we were inserted in by a helicopter,” Vanne-Brightyn wrote in a Taos Search and Rescue social post. “He was found 2.5 miles east of the mountain-top beneath where we were inserted.”
The team and Vanne-Brightyn shared their condolences with Moore’s family, but said they “are glad they were able to gain some closure as well as bring their dog back home.”
According to the Colorado Search and Rescue Association, an average of 3,000 backcountry rescue responses are required every year in Colorado. The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative reported an estimated 90,500 total hikers on Colorado’s front range, and with that many people heading out, accidents happen.
Search and Rescue teams recommend all hikers heading into the mountains, no matter how intense the hike or how familiar you are with the trail, to carry 10 essentials. These include insulation (extra clothing for the coldest possible weather), navigation tools, water, first aid materials, illumination (headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries), a repair kit (duct tape, knife, etc.), fire, nutrition, sun protection and emergency shelter.