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Missing Hiker In Beartooth Mountains Presumed To Not Survive

Quinnebaugh Meadows on West Fork of Rock Creek
Kamila Kudelska
Wyoming Public Radio
Quinnebaugh Meadows on West Fork of Rock Creek

The intense search efforts for a missing hiker in the Beartooth Mountains near Red Lodge, Montana has been scaled down as rescuers believe she is likely dead.

Tatum Morell, a 23-year-old, was an experienced hiker and planned a trip to climb five mountain peaks above 12,000 feet in five days in the West Fork of Rock Creek near Red Lodge, Montana.

She backpacked in on July 1 and contacted her family with her backcountry communication device that evening. Rescuers believe she left her tent on Friday morning and never returned.

After nearly a week of the most intensive search and rescue mission that has ever been performed in Carbon County, Montana, Red Lodge Fire Chief and Incident Commander Tom Kuntz said they believe Morell is not alive.

"We inserted multiple mountain and alpine rescue teams into the rugged mountains and we were unable to locate any sign of Tate," said Kuntz.

It is believed that she had a tragic accident and was unable to turn her device on. Kuntz said they haven't completely given up.

"We will continue searching over the next several weeks utilizing dog teams and aircraft in hopes of finding her," he said.

Morell's family said they find some solace in knowing she passed in a place she loved.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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