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Search continues Tuesday for missing hiker outside Red Lodge

Posted at 9:43 AM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 11:53:52-04

RED LODGE — The search continued Tuesday for a missing hiker outside of Red Lodge.

Tatum Morell, 23, was last heard from on July 1. On Monday the Carbon County Sheriff's Office announced a search effort had been launched for Morell in the area of the West Fork drainage in the Beartooth Mountains.

Those search efforts continued through the night. On Tuesday officials said search and rescue teams from Two Bear Air and the National Guard had been searching the area by helicopter both day and night without success.

"A ground team has reached her campsite and found no sign of the hiker," according to a press release from Red Lodge Fire Rescue. "Plans to search surrounding peaks and approaches are underway. The terrain is very rugged and remote so ground searches could take some time. Additional area Search and Rescue teams will be joining the search on Wednesday."

"Our main focus going forward is going to be having people on the ground searching in this rugged terrain. We have been in contact with Gallatin (National Forrest) search and rescue and they’re going to hopefully be sending over some crews to assist us with alpine search and we’re bringing in additional helicopter resources to continue searching," said Tom Kuntz, the Red Lodge fire rescue chief on Tuesday afternoon.

Morell, an experienced hiker from Idaho and a recent graduate of Montana State University, had hiked into the West Fork drainage on Thursday and planned to stay four nights. She is believed to have left her campsite at Shadow Lake on Friday morning to climb one of the several peaks in the area but never returned.

The search radius is 15 square miles in the area of the West Fork Trail where Morell went missing. Due to the ruggedness of the terrain search and rescue is not utilizing any citizen searches as of Tuesday afternoon.

Search and Rescue attempted to find Morell’s location by pinging the GPS on her phone and InReach device, but both were unresponsive.

Morell may have been wearing a red jacket and carrying a blue day pack, the press release states. The Carbon County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information about Morell to call the office at 406-446-1234.