DENVER (KDVR) — Rich Moore had been missing for 72 days when members of the Taos Search and Rescue team recovered his body in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. His dog, a Jack Russell terrier, was alive and still by his side.
Moore was reported missing on August 19 after making plans to summit Blackhead Peak, just east of Pagosa Springs. According to missing posters posted in the area, his dog, Finney, was with him.
Rescuers found Finney and Moore’s body on Oct. 30. A cause of death for Moore hasn’t been released.
Finney has since been reunited with family. It’s unclear how he was able to survive for so long. A member of the Taos team, Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, told CNN that Finney appeared to have lost about half his body weight but was otherwise in good shape.
Vanne-Brightyn was part of the initial search along with her certified search K-9, AkioYodasan.
Vanne-Brighten said the team searched from just under the peak-top of Blackhead Peak and headed west down the mountain, where 71-year-old Moore’s car was located.
“It was so steep, we were inserted in by a helicopter,” Vanne-Brightyn wrote in a Taos Search and Rescue social post. “He was found 2.5 miles east of the mountaintop beneath where we were inserted.”
The team and Vanne-Brightyn shared their condolences with Moore’s family, but said they “are glad they were able to gain some closure as well as bring their dog back home.”
According to the Colorado Search and Rescue Association, an average of 3,000 backcountry rescue responses are required every year in Colorado. The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative reported an estimated 90,500 total hikers on Colorado’s front range, and with that many people heading out, accidents happen.
Search and Rescue teams recommend all hikers heading into the mountains, no matter how intense the hike or how familiar you are with the trail, to carry 10 essentials. These include insulation (extra clothing for the coldest possible weather), navigation tools, water, first aid materials, illumination (headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries), a repair kit (duct tape, knife, etc.), fire, nutrition, sun protection, and emergency shelter.