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Man survives night in SUV

by Sarah Rose Fredlund
| April 10, 2010 9:00 PM

OSBURN - Jeffrey Lipscomb was just looking to have a little fun - and maybe even discover a little gold - when he ventured up a Silver Valley road Thursday morning. But when his Chevy Blazer became stuck in the snow, he found himself stranded, with no way to safety.

OSBURN - Jeffrey Lipscomb was just looking to have a little fun - and maybe even discover a little gold - when he ventured up a Silver Valley road Thursday morning.

But when his Chevy Blazer became stuck in the snow, he found himself stranded, with no way to safety.

It began Thursday morning when the 49-year-old went looking for creeks to pan for gold later this year.

"It's just fun to do," he said. "A pretty good hobby."

The outdoorsman had driven nearly 10 miles up Two Mile Road when he made a wrong turn.

"Unfortunately I went around the area and there was that deep snow," Lipscomb said.

He found himself stuck and surrounded by about 20 inches of snow. The ground beneath was solid ice, making it impossible for his tires to gain traction.

Lipscomb checked his cell phone to call for help, but there was no service. Feeling disoriented, he decided it wasn't safe to wander around without knowing where to go. As it got later in the evening, he could feel the temperature outside dropping and hear the high winds howling.

He switched his emergency flashers on and off to try and attract help, but there was no response.

"To tell you the truth, it was scary," Lipscomb said.

Cold and tired, he drank some water he had and ate some Spam and even his favorite candy bar - a Nestle Crunch.

"It was a bit frozen but still good," Lipscomb said with a laugh.

Huddled and wrapped in his winter jacket, Lipscomb turned on the car for 15 minutes, every 20 minutes, to stay warm. All night he fought sleep, determined to stay alert and survive.

By 8:30 a.m. the next day it was light enough for Lipscomb to venture out to find reception to reach emergency personnel. A quarter-mile down the snow-covered road his cell phone finally located a signal.

Thanks to the GPS he brought, Lipscomb was equipped with some coordinates so searchers could find him.

As he walked further, Lipscomb discovered the 9-mile marker to pinpoint his location.

"I won't forget that number," he said.

His call reached the Shoshone County Sheriff's Office.

"I was so happy to finally get to talk with someone," he said in relief. "It brought me to tears."

While Lt. Darell Braaten and Shoshone County Fire District I EMT Aaron Cagle took the county truck for the rescue, Lipscomb began the trek back to his rig. On the walk up his uplifted spirits failed to compensate for the black ice beneath, and he took a nasty spill - hitting his head, throwing out his back, bruising his side and fracturing his hand.

"It was a hell of an experience," Lipscomb recalled of the entire ordeal. "Not much fun at all."

Within an hour Braaten and Cagle met Lipscomb and transported him to the ambulance waiting at the bottom of Two Mile Road.

"I couldn't believe how fast they got there," Lipscomb said. "They were fantastic, they got up to me so quick it was unbelievable"

The experience has Lipscomb re-evaluating how he executes one-man adventures. He said he realizes how important it is to notify someone and bring more supplies when going off to places that hold elements of danger.

"Taking off and not letting anyone know where you're at is not a smart thing. I learned my lesson; wait a little to get up in the hills," he said. "Thank God for the rescue people up here, they were just the best. I give them all the credit in the world."

Despite the trauma, Lipscomb plans on returning to the area as soon as he is able.

"I really love the valley," he said. "It's a fun place."

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