High Country rescue and recovery groups inundated by calls from stranded backcountry drivers

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — Rescue and recovery groups are warning backcountry drivers to not be deceived by snow conditions in the High Country right now.

Over the last couple of weeks, they’ve been inundated with calls from stranded motorists who are finding themselves stuck in tricky situations.

Given the heavy amount of rainfall we’ve experienced lately, conditions in the mountains can actually be downright dangerous.

It’s why groups like Colorado 4×4 Rescue & Recovery want to get the word out.

“There’s a lot of shaded areas or even the high mountain passes that the snow is still 2, 3, even 4 feet deep back in there. These are sections of trail that don’t normally see sunlight until middle of June, sometimes early July there’s still snow up there,” said Justin King, a spokesperson for Colorado 4×4 Rescue & Recovery.

Colorado 4×4 Rescue & Recovery is a nonprofit group that helps rescue backcountry drivers who are in need of assistance and it’s free of charge.

Responders say they’ve been dispatched to numerous recoveries these last few weeks due to the mud and snow.

There’s still plenty of snow above 8,000 to 9,000 feet in elevation and it’s putting drivers in situations where their vehicles are getting stuck.

Rescuers say it’s getting warmer at higher elevations and the once hard packed snow is becoming incredibly soft, making it extremely easy to frame out vehicles on forest roads.

“When you’ve got two or three feet of snow on the ground, and you maybe get out and walk it, and it holds you up just fine – you’ve got a 3,000, 4,000 or 6,000 pound vehicle that you’re going to drive over that — and you’re going to fall right through that stuff and that’s what we’ve been seeing a lot of lately,” King added.

In situations like this, Colorado 4×4 Rescue & Recovery says there is really no other way to get a stuck vehicle out other than to drag it out with other vehicles.

Sometimes it takes 2-4 vehicles just to get one out of a sticky situation during mud season.

Dispatchers say it’s important to make sure you’re prepared.

“Know before you go! Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back, and prepare to spend an extended duration in your vehicle if you get stuck right now.  It can even be treacherous for us to reach you with the rapid freeze and thaw cycles going on in the mountains right now,” King said.

Mud season continues in Colorado through late June and early July.

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