Preparedness Helps Snowmobiler Survive a Night in the Mountains

Preparedness Helps Snowmobiler Survive a Night in the Mountains

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News Specialist Jed Boal reportingSummit County Search crews rescued the 15-year-old sledder after he abandoned his snowmobile and started hiking through the deep snow.

The teenage snowmobiler from Evanston went out with his family yesterday. At about 1 p.m., the father realized his son had disappeared in the vast, snowy wilderness.

As 15-year-old Alan Layton emerged from the trees in a secluded area of the Uintas, rescuers and his family ended nearly 24 hours of anxiety.

Chopper 5 was alongside the search when state crews spotted him, exhausted and cold, but otherwise fine.

Layton went out sledding with his family yesterday off the Mirror Lake Highway. He took a short-cut and disappeared.

"He just got screwed up and lost. We couldn't get hooked back up," says Marty Layton, Alan's father.

Search and rescue crews searched the entire night before they spotted the teen's abandoned sled and followed his footprints in the snow. He'd hiked three or four miles after the snowmobile got stuck.

"Clearly some mistakes were made," says Sheriff David Edmunds.

The teenager's father says they searched for hours but never panicked. He says his son is a smart snowmobiler who knows what to do in an emergency.

"We have survival gear. He kept himself from freezing last night," Layton says.

Summit County search and rescue has been on nearly a dozen expeditions in the past month. No one has died, but the sheriff is concerned that too many people are heading into the backcountry unprepared.

"If you're going to come up into the high mountains of Summit County, you'd better be prepared and be extremely careful up here," Edmunds says.

The teen was uninjured and walked away without even any frostbite. His father said he was on his way home after warming up at a friend's house.

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