Randy Udall, the brother of Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, has been missing since June 26, when he did not return from a solo hike in Wyoming. Police said they were notified on June 28 that Randy Udall had not returned from the hike. Search-and-rescue crews are currently combing the Wind River Range in Wyoming for the 61-year-old, who has been described as an experienced backpacker who had been on this trail many times in the past 30 years. Mark Udall’s office said on Monday that the senator has remained in contact with his family, but will continue his legislative work for the time being.
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.”