Randy Udall missing in Wind Rivers


Aug 9, 2007
Just saw this and thought I'd repost here. I figure there's a pretty good chance more than a few BCP'ers will be up in the Winds this coming week.




CARBONDALE — Environmentalist James “Randy” Udall, 61, has been reported missing in the Wind River Range of western Wyoming, near the town of Pinedale, after he reportedly went hiking alone and failed to return as scheduled on June 26.

His daughter, Ren Udall, confirmed to the Post Independent on Monday that her father was missing, and that search and rescue teams were hunting for him.

She declined to say more, explaining, “We’re just trying to keep the phones open and do some logistical work from here.”

According to a reports on the Pinedale.com website, Udall headed out from Elkhart Park, a popular trailhead into the Wind Rivers that is located close to Pinedale.

According to Deputy Steve Smith of the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office, Udall’s family called the sheriff’s office on June 28, and the Tip Top Search and Rescue organization started searching that day and were continuing to search on Monday.

The search and rescue operation, according to a statement from Sublette County Sheriff Dave Lankford, has involved ground teams and aerial sweeps by helicopter, and is focused on an area approximately 225 square miles in circumference.

Udall, brother of Senators Mark Udall of Colorado and Tom Udall of New Mexico, also is a son of the late Morris “Mo” Udall of Arizona, reportedly had planned on backpacking alone for nearly a week, starting on June 20. He is known to be an experienced mountaineer, and to have hiked in the Wind River Range numerous times.

Udall, a locally well-known advocate for alternative energy and the need to protect the environment from over-development, co-founded and was the original director of a valleywide energy efficiency organization, called the Community Office for Resource Efficiency or CORE.

Udall also has been an outspoken critic of the oil and gas recovery method known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which is in widespread use around the U.S. and in Western Colorado, particularly in Garfield County,

A Facebook appeal for expert wilderness hikers who might help with the search and rescue effort was issued late Sunday by friends in Carbondale.

The same Facebook posting asked recipients to offer up “prayers for Randy and family.”
Both Ren Udall and Steve Smith said on Monday that there had been “no news” about Randy Udall that day.
It's a real drag. I met him a couple of times at an architects office I worked at in Carbondale (he was friends with my boss). He was dedicated to helping us live more in tune with our surroundings, and making it a better place. He established CORE, an organization that helped us afford the photovoltaic panels on our roof. A happy and driven guy.
Very sad. A true champion for conservation and the environment.
A great article about Randy here:


If there is one quantum of solace, it is that Randy appears to have died very quickly, of perhaps a heart attack or stroke, mid-stride, outward bound on a flat high bench, off trail in the Wind River Range, his favorite place on earth. Just as we ought to be, he was girded for battle. He had his pack on his back, hiking poles in hand, certainly feeling the lightness and joy we all feel heading out on a new journey.
Under a vast, clear and blue Wyoming sky, he came to rest on his side. He was finally, to quote Stanley Kunitz, one of his favorite poets:
… absolved and free
of his burdens, those mottoes
stamped on his name-tag:
conscience, ambition, and all
that caring….
Peace! Peace!
To be rocked by the Infinite!
As if it didn’t matter
which way was home;
as if he didn’t know
he loved the earth so much
he wanted to stay forever.​