Missing hiker found off Tabeguache

Chaffee County Search and Rescue-South (CCSAR-S) located a 25-year-old missing hiker Sunday afternoon after the man failed to return from a hike of Shavano and Tabeguache on Saturday afternoon.

Twenty rescuers from CCSAR-S, Chaffee County Search and Rescue North (CCSAR-N) and the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office participated in the rescue, which began Saturday evening. Relatives in Salida notified the Chaffee County Communications Center at 8:08 p.m. that Matthew Tow of Clive, Iowa, was overdue after a day of hiking.

CCSAR-S searched the area of the Colorado Trail below Mount Shavano with trail motorcycles until 1:30 a.m. Saturday, then returned with hikers, atvs and trail motorcycles at 7 a.m. Sunday to continue the search. They were assisted by CCSAR-N with motorcycles and hikers, and by the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office with command support.

Tow was found approximately a mile below the Colorado Trail at 12:30 p.m. Sunday after spending the night lost on the descent from Tabeguache. He was dehydrated and exhausted but otherwise unhurt. Tow had planned a day hike and was not carrying the proper amounts of food, water or safety equipment to spend the night. Because of the moonlight, he was able to keep moving throughout the night. This allowed him to stay warm, despite not having proper clothing or the ability to start a fire. He sent short text messages to let his relatives know he was OK, but because of a low cell-phone battery, was unable to communicate with rescue personnel looking for him.

CCSAR-S would like to remind everyone planning a hike to bring plenty of food, water, clothing and safety equipment for every outing. If you do become lost, stay in one place, if possible, to allow rescuers to come to you. More information on what to bring can be found at http://chaffeesarsouth.org.

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