Last weekend’s rescue of the drunk snowboarder in Keno Gully reminded me of a more tragic incident in the late 1970s. A young man went missing and was last seen on Ruthie’s Run. A snow squall had suddenly interrupted a 50-degree afternoon. When he was reported missing there was a short search with no results. Many weeks later, a man fishing in Castle Creek reported seeing part of a body exposed in the snow on the other side of the creek. The skier had managed to get all the way down the creek. He had lost a ski somewhere and died of exhaustion lying on his side. He was wearing only a light wind shirt for spring skiing.
I was in a hallway at the old hospital on Lone Pine Road when two deputies were putting the dead man onto the rollout shelf of the morgue locker. Animals had eaten all the soft tissue on the left side of the skull, revealing its structure as clearly as an illustration in the Netter Atlas.
There were no cell phones in those good old days. Last weekend’s snowboarder was lucky his smart phone was charged enough to help locate him.