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Two dogs rescued from tall cliff on Ute Mountain Ute reservation

‘It was good training for the team. It was a success,’ sheriff says
Corey Robinson with the Montezuma County Search and Rescue team holds a dog rescued from a mesa cliff April 12 on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation.

Two dogs stranded on a mesa cliff southeast of Towaoc have been rescued by a Montezuma County Search and Rescue team during a nighttime mission.

After receiving permission from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the Montezuma County rescue team was deployed by Sheriff Steve Nowlin the afternoon of April 12.

The two dogs had been stranded on a cliff for more than a day.

A rescuer is lowered down to a dog stranded on a mesa cliff on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation. The two dogs were rescued and uninjured.

Tribal officials led a group of five rescuers to the base of the mesa. Rescuers climbed a gully trail to the top then hiked 2 miles along the rim until they were above the dogs.

“We heard a faint whimper, and were able to locate them,” said rescuer Matt Barnes, in an interview Friday.

A high-angle technical rope rescue was set up, and a person was lowered to the dogs that were on a ledge 50 feet below the rim and 900 feet above the valley floor.

After much coaxing with food and water, the dogs were secured and taken to the top of the mesa.

Errin Walker with the Montezuma County Search and Rescue team carries a dog in her backpack after it was rescued from a mesa cliff southeast of Towaoc.

“They were friendly dogs, a little scared, hungry and thirsty,” Barns said. “It went really well.”

The dogs were uninjured, and returned to their grateful owners. One was so exhausted it was loaded into a backpack for the return hike across and down the mesa.

Two dogs were rescued from the cliffside of the Mesa Verde formation on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation on April 12 by the Montezuma County Search and Rescue team.

The rescue effort took about eight hours and much of it occurred at night. Rescuers completed the mission after midnight.

It is not known how the two dogs became stranded.

“It was good training for the team. It was a success,” Nowlin said of the rescue.

Montezuma County Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization.

jmimiaga@the-journal.com

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