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Pair of snowmobilers rescued after two nights in the Wyoming mountains
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Pair of snowmobilers rescued after two nights in the Wyoming mountains

Park County search

Rescuers search for two Montana men who got lost while snowmobiling in Park County.

A pair of snowmobilers from Montana survived two nights outdoors in the Beartooth Mountains before being rescued Saturday, the Park County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The men — Trevor Wayne Deal, 22 of Bridger, Montana, and Maison Deacon Ostwald, 21 of Laurel, Montana — were found Saturday by a Park County Search and Rescue team. They were exhausted, dehydrated and hypothermic.

Ostwald suffered severe frostbite and was flown to Idaho Falls Burn Center. Ostwald declined treatment, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

“Most often search and rescue missions, similar to this one, do not have a positive outcome, so it was incredibly satisfying for our members to have such an emotionally rewarding end result,” said Sheriff Scott Steward. “And this was in no small part due to the volunteers who stepped up in a time of need. All of us should be grateful for their unselfish giving attitude.”

The men had gone snowmobiling Thursday morning in the Beartooth Mountains east of the Top of the World Store. At about 5 p.m., a friend of theirs received a call saying one of their snowmobiles had become disabled and they were trying to get back to the highway on their own.

The Park County Search and Rescue team searched through the night but did not find them. They ended the search at 4 a.m. Friday but resumed it three hours later. They were assisted by two Blackhawk helicopters.

“At one time, over 50 volunteers on snowmobiles were mobilized in the search area,” the sheriff’s office stated.

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Park County

Rescuers look for two snowmobilers who were lost in the Beartooth Mountains in northwest Wyoming.

Using information from one of the men’s last calls, rescuers on Friday afternoon learned it was made in an area southwest of Fantan Lake. Rescuers began searching that area and found an abandoned snowmobile that belonged to the men. Tracks showed them headed south on a second snowmobile, but given the terrain, weather and approaching nightfall, the search was halted for the evening.

On Saturday morning, the rescuers used a helicopter to survey the area. They picked up a new trail of snowmobile tracks and followed it down a steep draw, the sheriff’s office said. The helicopter eventually had to leave to refuel, but ground teams heard the men shouting for help in an area of spruce trees.

Deal told his rescuers that he and Ostwald had gotten into a very steep area of heavy snow, and when they tried to ascend, one of of their snowmobiles rolled. They could not get it upright due to the conditions, so they abandoned it and tried to reach the mountain’s bottom, the news release states.

During the first night on the mountain, the men started a fire using gas from the snowmobile, which Deal ignited with a spark plug wire. On Friday, they tried to get out on the one snowmobile that was still working, but it struck a boulder, breaking the steering linkage. They went on foot, and when night fell, they covered themselves with spruce branches since they had no means to start a second fire.

When they woke the next day, the could not feel their lower bodies, and it took them two hours to move 100 yards.

“Deal commented that if not rescued in the next 4-5 hours, they both had resigned themselves that they were ‘going to curl up and die.’ As they began getting these thoughts, that’s when they heard the Huey in its search pattern,” the press release states. “When it left, that’s when they heard the snowmobiles below them and began shouting for help.”

Photos: Clearing the Beartooth Pass

Clearing the Beartooth Pass

The Montana Department of Transportation has started clearing snow from the Beartooth Highway.

MDT documents the plowing progress with videos posted on

MDT crews must clear 11.6 zigzagging miles up the 11,000-foot pass each spring. The road opens each year ahead of Memorial Day weekend and the summer season.

The popular and scenic road links Red Lodge to Yellowstone National Park’s Northeast Entrance, pumping tourists and their money between the two points in an economic lifeline. It is closed in the winter by locked gates on the Red Lodge side and to the southwest in Wyoming.


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Joshua Wolfson joined the Star-Tribune in 2007, covering crime and health before taking over the arts section in 2013. He also served as managing editor before being named editor in June 2017. He lives in Casper with his wife and their two kids.

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