Vail Daily letter: A leader lost |

Vail Daily letter: A leader lost

Cathy Nelson
Vail, CO Colorado

I am so saddened to read the news of the passing of Tim Cochrane, founder of Vail Mountain Search and Rescue.

I had the pleasure, actually it was an unfortunate pleasure due to unfortunate circumstances, of meeting Tim this last Oct. 11. I was in Edwards as my 31-year-old son, James Nelson, left on Oct. 3 for a five-day, 25-mile solo backpacking trip in the Holy Cross Wilderness area. He was to have been picked up at noon at Half Moon Pass trailhead by his fiance and her two friends Oct 8. He never arrived. After waiting seven hours for him to return, the authorities were alerted. Vail Search and Rescue spent four days, over 1,000 man-hours, using dog teams and helicopters looking for James but found absolutely no clue as to his whereabouts. Tim came to the area we were waiting at to brief us on all the possibilities of what could have happened. He also told us how he started Vail Mountain Rescue and why. He told us some of his numerous rescues. Tim was an experienced person at SAR and very dedicated to this mission.

Below is my Facebook comment:

“This man was incredible! I had the fortunate (unfortunate) pleasure of meeting him when we were in Colorado this last October. He was very much involved in the search for James. His dedication to finding those lost in the wilderness was unsurpassable. In all his years of founding and being the boss of Vail Search and Rescue, James is only the third person not to be recovered. Tim and all that volunteer for Vail Mountain are very sincere, compassionate and sensitive people. They are very dedicated and take their motto very very seriously: “Leave no man behind.” Tim will be greatly missed! I feel blessed to have met this man and to know that he helped in the search of my son. Dan and Steve will do an awesome job in carrying on Tim’s work. God bless you, Tim, and Thank-you for all the lives you have saved in your 30+ years of dedication to SAR.”

“My sincere condolences to his wife and family, Dan Smith, Steve Zuckerman, and Sheriff Joseph Hoy. Thank you all for sharing this man with so many. I am grateful for having met such a wonderful caring person and appreciate all that was done to find my son. Though James is still lost somewhere in Holy Cross Wilderness, I know the failure to find him and bring him down from the mountain was very devastating to this team.”

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