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Following GPS route, 30-foot box truck becomes stuck on Engineer Pass

Vehicle obstructing high-country travel as of Monday
A 30-foot box truck traveling over the rugged Engineer Pass became stuck Friday, and is now obstructing backcountry travel.

GPS is useful tool for navigation, but it shouldn’t be followed blindly.

That appears to be what happened Friday when a 30-foot box truck became stuck near the top of a rugged mountain road north of Silverton known as Engineer Pass. And it doesn’t appear the truck is going anywhere anytime soon.

“How they got that far is beyond me,” said Silverton-based Animas Towing & Recovery owner Wayne Barger.

Engineer Pass is known as one of the most difficult and steep backcountry roads in the area, reaching a peak elevation of 12,800 feet, which requires a four-wheel drive and high-clearance vehicle.

The pass is part of the famed high country route called the Alpine Loop, which connects Silverton to Ouray and Lake City through a series of remote, rocky roads through the San Juan Mountains.

It appears the truck left Silverton on Friday and was near the top of Engineer Pass, which would have the truck headed toward Lake City, when the driver tried to turn around and became stuck.

Barger said he believes the truck remained on the pass as of Monday morning.

Animas Towing has not been hired by the operator of the truck, but Barger said he has been in contact with the operator, who seemed “very upset.”

Barger said the man has hired another towing company to retrieve the truck, but based on his experience, it is going to take several tow trucks, and possibly a couple thousand dollars, to get the job done.

“They’re going to need a lot of help,” he said. “It’s in a predicament that’s really going to cost them.”

Barger did not know what the truck is carrying, but he said it appeared the driver was following a GPS route.

Thomas Livingstone, a local photographer, was on Engineer Pass with his brother on Friday when he saw the broken-down truck, which he said had a temporary Colorado license plate.

Livingstone said the truck wasn’t blocking the road completely, but it has made it more dangerous for Jeeps and off-highway vehicles to navigate the road.

Barger said he expects a call for assistance at some point Monday.

“It’s not going to be an easy task,” he said.

jromeo@durangoherald.com

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