Hundreds of volunteers search for man missing in the mountains of Summit County

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah -- The search continues for Ray Humpherys, a 66-year-old man who went missing by Hidden Lake.

Humpherys was last seen Wednesday night when he left the family campsite to fetch water from the lake to put our their campfire. Summit Search and Rescue Crews hit the ground Thursday morning, and now hundreds of volunteers have joined them too.

Courtney Bardsley, one of the founders for The Garrett Bardsley Foundation, set up their volunteer site right next to Trial Lake Dam.

“Summit Search & Rescue has given us a range that they want us to search,” Bardsley said. “We divide those into grids and send out our teams into different grids.”

Bardsley said on Saturday they had a group of about 100 volunteers. But Sunday, the numbers have been incredible—about 250 to 300 people showed up to help with more on the way.

Volunteers had different reasons.  Braxton Ropelato, who showed up Saturday and Sunday, said he came because his own brother went missing in 2011.  While he was found 24 hours later, Ropelato remembers how hard it was to have a family member missing.

“You feel hopeless in a sense, it’s discouraging,” Ropelato said wiping tears from his eyes. “It’s a big wilderness and your mind just goes through lots of scenarios, typically not good ones. Up until there’s closure it just gets worse and worse.”

Ropelato said the gratitude he felt finding his brother again is what motivated him to help.

“There’s not a lot that’s more important than this right now,” Ropelato said. “Work can wait, school can wait, anything can wait for this.”

Bardsley said if Humpherys isn’t found tonight, they will keep searching tomorrow.

Any and all volunteers are welcome to join at Trial Lake Dam.  Bardsley has a website showing what to bring and said if you have your own GPS, to bring it. There is no cell-service where they are searching.