Snowmobilers Survive Two Nights In Wilderness, 12-Hour Hike To Safety

Feb 18, 2021, 7:30 PM | Updated: 8:34 pm

PRESTON, Idaho – After two nights stranded in the cold Idaho backcountry, two snowmobilers credited rescue crews for helping them make the 12-hour hike out to safety.

They said owe their lives to those rescuers and said they’re just grateful to be alive and back home with their families.

The two brothers-in-law were snowmobiling just over the Utah/Idaho border, near Preston. It’s an area they know well, but fog got them off course and stuck several miles off the road.

It was Monday when their snowmobiles became trapped in a basin and the two men realized they were going to need help.

“(We) kept trying to push to get out (and) thought maybe we could get out the bottom,” said Nic Nulph. “(It) just didn’t really work out.”

Nulph and his brother-in-law, Wes Pahl, were somewhere near the Birch Creek trailhead when they decided to hunker down for the night. They had supplies to build a fire and shelter.

“We were mildly to moderately prepared. I mean, we definitely wish we had a few more items, but (had) enough to keep us comfortable and well-hydrated,” Nulph said.

They were able to call family and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, but with the deep snow and rough terrain, it wasn’t until around 5 p.m. Tuesday that rescuers were able to find and reach them.

“Brad and Stewart – they’re the two rescuers that came in after us,” Nulph said. “They hiked in, risking their lives for two complete strangers.”

Nulph said the rescuers saw small avalanches as they came down to them, which was why the four then took the long route through the canyon – about four to five miles out.

It was a 12-hour long journey, which was why he said they were so grateful to those volunteer rescuers who risked so much to get them out safely.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to repay them,” Nulph said.

Waiting just down the road were paramedics, deputies, friends, and family.

“It was just… lots of support,” he said.

Their snowmobiles were still out in the canyon. Nulph said they’ll have to wait for the snow to melt to get them back safely.

His advice to other snowmobilers – always prepare for the worst.

“It took one wrong decision, and that’s pretty much all it comes down to,” said Nulph.

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Snowmobilers Survive Two Nights In Wilderness, 12-Hour Hike To Safety