Craig man found dead after snowmobiling outside Yampa |

Craig man found dead after snowmobiling outside Yampa

Derek Maiolo/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Routt County Search and Rescue volunteers found the body of a Craig resident Friday near Dunckley Pass, west of Yampa. Frank Yoast, 64, had taken his snowmobile into the backcountry when the machine appeared to have malfunctioned.
File Photo

YAMPA — Routt County Search and Rescue volunteers found a snowmobiler’s body Friday afternoon near Dunckley Pass, west of Yampa.

Sixty-four-year-old Frank Yoast, a longtime Craig resident, died from what officials suspect to be natural causes after going on a solo trip in the backcountry.

A plow truck driver from the Hayden Road and Bridge department called Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies Friday morning about a truck with a trailer attached to it parked at Routt County roads 37B and 29. The vehicle had not moved since Wednesday, and the plow driver was concerned.

Four Search and Rescue volunteers arrived on the scene at noon Friday and traced snowmobile tracks southward from the trailer, according to Search and Rescue President Jay Bowman. He said officials suspected the truck belonged to Yoast but were unable to contact his family to confirm that information.

Yoast was known for exploring the backcountry on his own, and he frequented a cabin in the area, Bowman said.

Three hours into the search, rescuers found Yoast’s body but not his snowmobile.

“He had been out there a while before we found him,” Bowman said.

Rescuers eventually found the snowmobile Yoast had ridden farther up the trail.

It seemed the machine had malfunctioned, according to Routt County Coroner Robert Ryg. Yoast had tried to backtrack to his truck on foot when he appears to have collapsed in the snow.

Rescue volunteers and deputies transported the body out of the area and to the coroner’s office.

Ryg said he could not determine a cause of death until he conducts an autopsy, which was scheduled for Monday.

“There’s nothing suspicious yet,” Routt County Undersheriff Doug Scherar said of Yoast’s death. “They assume it’s a medical issue.”

Bowman emphasized that an incident like this underscores the dangers of venturing into the backcountry alone. He advised people who embark on solo adventures to notify friends and family of the route they plan to take and when they expect to return.

“If he had told someone where he was going, we could have been out there sooner,” Bowman said.