Searchers no longer believe missing hiker Tatum Morell is alive, and are reducing their search efforts in the mountains near Red Lodge.
Morell, a 23-year-old Montana State University graduate student, last contacted her family on July 1 via an inReach satellite communicator, and the search began on July 5, according to Red. Lodge Fire Rescue.
Searchers believe Morell left her tent the morning of Friday, July 2, to scale a 12,000-foot peak and never returned. She had planned to scale five such mountain peaks in the West Fork of Rock Creek, and she’d been training since she was a child, according to Red Lodge rescuers.
“Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of places that Tate could have gotten into trouble on these rugged mountains when the storms came into the area on Friday,” said Red Lodge Fire Chief Tom Kuntz. “After the extensive search efforts, we do not believe she survived.”
Red Lodge Fire Rescue and the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office will continue search efforts on a limited but continuous basis. There will be limited area searches by trained rescuers, investigation of specific identified targets, and periodic searches by search dog teams.
Her family asks that those wishing to help in search efforts or commemorate her life to donate in her honor to Red Lodge Fire Rescue.