9-hour mountain rescue from Mystic

Thursday, July 30, 2020
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SAR photo

Article Image Alt Text

SAR photo

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(SAR photo) Stillwater Search and Rescue Search and Rescue crews made the trek up the Mystic Lake trail last Saturday to rescue an injured hiker. A storm in the area prevented a medical helicopter from responding to the scene, so crews brought the injured party off the mountain in a specialized lightweight litter made for extractions over bumpy terrain.

On Saturday, July 25, a 911 call came into the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Dispatch at 1:47 p.m. regarding a 28-year-old woman who fell and was injured while hiking to Mystic Lake, approximately 40 minutes up the trail.

Stillwater County Search and Rescue (SAR) responded and had two members on scene by 4:07 p.m. They were joined just minutes later by Deputy Skylar Steele and a paramedic.

Guardian Flight out of Bozeman responded, but due to lightning in the area, was unable to land. A storm system between Cody, Wyo., and Mystic Lake was expected to stay in the area for three more hours. HelpFlight out of Billings was also unable to respond due to weather.

The decision was then made to bring the woman down from the mountain on a new specialized medical litter. Absarokee emergency crews as well as Columbus Fire Rescue were summoned to help with the manual transport of the woman.

All rescue units were clear from the mountain by 9:15 p.m.


The litter used in the rescue was purchased with money raised by Illinois resident Kathy Shott, who is also the grateful mother of a young man who tragically lost his life in a fall a few years earlier.

When SAR received the money in 2019, the all-volunteer, non-paid organization decided it was important to buy upgraded equipment that had been used in the recovery of Chase Shott.

The new litter weighs less than half what the previous one did and is much easier to handle, particularly by rescuers who are already laden-down with gear.