The months-long search for a missing hiker in Boulder County concluded last week after a rescue volunteer discovered human remains that were later confirmed to be those of 27-year-old Josh Hall.

Multiple search and rescue teams sought out to find Hall for nearly five months after the hiker and his dog, Happy went out for a hike on Feb. 3 at the Hessie Trailhead in Boulder County and never returned. Hall and his dog had reportedly been headed towards Devil's Thumb Lake when a snowstorm rolled in; Hall wasn't heard from again.

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"Over 700 volunteer hours spent by professional rescuers on the search itself, and that doesn't even include the amount of overhead, logistics, planning [and] organization that occurred," said public information officer Drew Hildner of the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group (RMRG).

"Field teams searching the day of and the day after were reporting gusts up to 50 miles an hour. We had several feet of snow over those first several days".

You'll be able to get a better idea of just how harsh the weather conditions initially were for crew members during their search for Hall by viewing the video below, courtesy of the Denver Channel and the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group:

Eight days following the hike, Hall's dog, Happy, was miraculously discovered alive on a highway several miles away from the trailhead. However, rescuers weren't too optimistic that they'd find Josh Hall alive, too.

"Especially in those weather conditions, we didn't have very high expectations that ... he had much chance of survival beyond a few days," Hildner said, according to the Denver Channel. 

Then, last Thursday (July 1), the Boulder County's Sheriff's Office shared via a news release that a volunteer with the Front Range Rescue Dogs organization, who was preparing for a future organized search for the remains of Josh Hall, found partial human remains approximately 4 miles west of the Hessie Trailhead near a small stream off the Diamond Lake Trail.

On Saturday (July 3), the human remains were confirmed by the Boulder County Coroner to be those of 27-year-old Josh Hall.

Hall's official cause of death is currently under investigation.

"We wish the outcome were different, but being able to help with that closure is huge for us. It's very important for us," Front Range Rescue Dogs canine handler Jenny Paddock said.

Paddock, along with other volunteer canine handlers are trained to perform searches like these; she said the recent snowmelt played a major part in helping her colleague make the discovery possible.

"It was just a matter of we had to wait for the conditions to be right, to go up and go to work," Paddock said. "We don't want to leave anybody out there. We want to be able to go out there and help resolve this."

The Hall family composed the statement below for Denver7 following the news confirming the discovery of Josh Hall:

Pattrik Perez, Denver Channel/Twitter
Pattrik Perez, Denver Channel/Twitter

Several volunteers from multiple first responding/search and rescue groups -aside from RMRG, FRRD and the Boulder County Sheriff's Office - aided in the search for Hall, including:

  • Flight for Life
  • Colorado Search and Rescue
  • Alpine Rescue Team
  • Boulder Emergency Squad
  • Grand County SAR
  • Larimer County SAR
  • Douglas County SAR
  • Park County SAR
  • El Paso County SAR
  • Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado
  • Arapahoe Rescue Patrol, Boulder County Fire
  • Boulder County Parks & Open Space
  • U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Department of Fire Prevention and Control
  • Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol
  • Nederland Fire Protection District
  • Boulder Valley School District
  • Air Force Rescue Coordination Center

You can view the full story via Denver7 below:



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