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Storms hinder search for race volunteer now missing for a week

Race volunteer now missing for more than a week
Race volunteer now missing for more than a week 00:29

For the second day in a row, thunderstorms interrupted search efforts Saturday for a 22-year-old Salt Lake City man who was last seen a week ago after volunteering as a courseworker for a 100-mile endurance race in Colorado's high country.

Daniel Lamthach was last seen as he departed one of the Hard Rock 100's aid stations en route to a backcountry trek into the Grenadier Range mountains, according to DeAnne Gallegos of the San Juan County Sheriff's Office. 

That last sighting was on July 16th. 

Daniel Lamthach  credit: San Juan County Office of Emergency Mangement/Facebook

Lamthach was reported overdue Thursday afternoon. This, after a concerned friend found his car parked at the Molas Lake parking area. 

Another hiker found Lamthach's cell phone on the Elk Creek Trail that day, confirming earlier information that Lamthach was headed toward the Trinity Peaks. 

credit: San Juan County Office of Emergency Mangement/Facebook

Lamthach is an ultrarunner himself, Gallegos told CBS4, and "has a reputation for being healthy and capable climber and runner." He had told a friend at the aid station that the Trinities, along with Vestal, Arrow and Pigeon peaks deep in the Weminuche Wilderness southeast of Silverton, were "on his bucket list." He had told friends and family he planned on a day hike. 

"The hiker was lightly prepared for a day hike and seemed not to be prepared for overnight or a long period in the wilderness," the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management stated in a Facebook post.

credit: San Juan County Office of Emergency Mangement/Facebook

Search efforts began Thursday evening by helicopter but ended due to darkness and cloud cover. Ground teams were inserted into the Trinity Peaks area Friday morning, but those and additional aerials were halted due to severe weather.

Saturday's search included the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control's Multi-Mission Aircraft (MMA) which has enhanced sensory capabilities including infrared. But again, crews were pulled out of the high country when storms rolled in.

credit: San Juan County Office of Emergency Mangement/Facebook

Friends and family members of the missing man are trying to retrace his steps on trails the solo hiker possibly traveled. But authorized asked for coordination and caution.

"We understand the public's concern when a friend and family member is missing," San Juan County Undersheriff Steve Lowrance stated. "But taking on an independent search operation can cause more issues than the good that is intended, especially when it is in an unknown wilderness area to the group. Please allow the local emergency teams to manage such operations as they have the skill sets to do so." 

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