On March 9, Brad Gardner skied off the top of Lone Mountain into the backcountry and despite nearly 10 days of searching, has yet to be seen since.
Madison County and Gallatin County Search and Rescue teams have been combing the rugged backcountry area around Lone Mountain in search of Gardner, but weather conditions have hampered their efforts, said Dave Schenk, Madison County Sheriff.
“We had to suspend the search for the time being until the weather conditions change. The safety of our searchers is paramount,” Schenk said. “We’re still going to go back in when the weather conditions change. The chances of finding him safely are very minimal due to the amount of time.”
Gardner disappeared on a Wednesday, but wasn’t reported missing until Sunday, March 13. He was skiing by himself and was last seen wearing a green jacket, yellow pants, red goggles, orange ski boots, black backpack and white helmet.
“It was four days before we were able to start the search, which was not in his favor at all,” Schenk said.
The search parties have been both on the ground and in the air. The terrain is very remote and rugged and the weather has not cooperated, he said. Since Gardner disappeared about 40 inches of snow has fallen on the area.
“The terrain is so rough that you could be 50 yards from him and not see him,” Schenk said.
Saturday was the last search day and the effort will not resume until conditions are safe. Winter storms are currently impacting the mountain.
If anyone has information that could help searchers, contact the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office immediately at 582-2100.