Explosives may be used to dislodge frozen cows

Last Friday I had weather cows, this week it’s frozen cows. From the “winter that wasn’t” department, it seems that the winter in Colorado was bad enough to cause some free range cows to seek shelter in/around a rustic shelter cabin – and then froze to death in place.

April 6: This photo provided by the U. S. Forest Service shows the Conundrum Creek Cabin, in the White River National Forest, near Aspen, Colo., where as many as six cows remain that froze to death. (AP)

DENVER (AP) –  It may take explosives to dislodge a group of cows that wandered into an old ranger cabin high in the Rocky Mountains, then died and froze solid when they couldn’t get out.

The carcasses were discovered by two Air Force Academy cadets when they snow-shoed up to the cabin in late March. Rangers believe the animals sought shelter during a snowstorm and got stuck and weren’t smart enough to find their way out.

The cabin is located near the Conundrum Hot Springs, a nine-mile hike from the Aspen area in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area.

Forest Service spokesman Brian Porter said rangers saw about six cows inside the cabin, and several dead cows lying around the building.

“There is a lot of snow, and it’s hard to determine how many cows are there,” Porter said.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Steve Segin said Tuesday they need to decide quickly how to get rid of the carcasses.

“Obviously, time is of the essence because we don’t want them defrosting,” Segin said.


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They should be thawing just in time to feed the hungry bears as they come out of hibernation.
Why do they have to “fix” every problem? The scavangers need to eat too!

Conundrum Creek, Eh?


They need to carefully consider how they plan to use that explosive. Many people don’t understand this but explosives just don’t make stuff “disappear”.

Remember that law of physics called Conservation of Mass…

Ken in Beaverton, OR

Maybe they should not take some advice from the Oregon Department of Transportation!

That did not turn out too well.


Sad. Poor cows. : (

Remember a few years ago when they blew up a beached whale and it rained blubber?
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ8jGqdE2iw&w=420&h=315%5D

Doug in Seattle

Just leave the door open. The coyotes will clean up the mess as fast as it melts.


“We don’t want them defrosting…” Uh, yeah. I can agree with that 🙁

John Blake

By the time GISS/NASA modelers get through, the number of Dead Cows will approach a ghost herd while the Ranger’s Cabin will be subject to long-range climatic scrutiny that suppresses the Medieval Warm.

R. Shearer

What could possibly go wrong?


They’re going to defrost sometime, unless they’re burying them on Phobos.


sad story. No living thing deserved their fate.


Which way were they facing?

Pamela Gray

Bet the wolves won’t touch it. They only go after bleeding beef.

Al Coholic

Fetchez la vache! http://youtu.be/JQ8jGqdE2iw

Anything is possible

Anyone planning on opening a burger bar gets a nice head start. Location leaves something to be desired, though.

Interstellar Bill

All they needed was some matches to light off their methane emissions to warm the shelter.

R. Shearer

If they’re still frozen, just cut them up with a chainsaw and truck them over to the local supermarket.
/Mr Lynn

michael hart

Spelling. Should the first paragraph end “froze to death in place” rather than “froze to death it place”?

Mr Lynn says:
April 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm
If they’re still frozen, just cut them up with a chainsaw…

That as the second thing I thought when reading the article, the first was the exploded whale.

F. Ross

Hire a butcher or big game hunter with a chain saw and if the meat is not fit for human consumption, spread the remains around outside for scavengers.


Doug in Seattle says:
April 17, 2012 at 6:33 pm
Yes they will! I’m pretty sure there are wolves in the area as well as other scavengers, too. No need to expend a lot of energy on this non problem.

John F. Hultquist

It is common to “remove” a large dead animal (horse or mule) from on or near a hiking trail in a remote area in this manner. If actually on the trail the protocol is to “relocate” the trail some distance away. In the case of the cows in the cabin the plan might be to drag them out and away, assuming the cabin is to be kept intact.
Moving heavy things (rocks, logs) in remote areas is easily accomplished with this item:

Michael Palmer

Reminds me of a story I heard about the university pharmacology department in Giessen, Germany. They used to store radioactively contamined cadavers of experimental animals in a big chest freezer. One day there was a power failure, and the cadavers all thawed and coalesced into one big gooey gunk. The power then came back on, and the whole mess turned into one big block of frozen, radioactive gunk.
How do you dispose of a thing like that? Well, they didn’t know, either, and while these events are a good while back, for all I know the frozen cadaver soup might still be there. Maybe the cowboys from Colorado have an idea how to deal with it, too?

Ed MacAulay

“Larry Ledwick said at 6:20 pm
Why do they have to “fix” every problem? The scavangers need to eat too!”
They will, the forest service just wants to tenderize it first.

Keith Pearson, formerly bikermailman, Anonymous no longer

No wolves in the area, IIRC. Plenty of bears though, the carcasses will be gone long before hikers make their way up there. BTW, amazingly beautiful area, some of the best hiking/camping/photography you’ll see anywhere. Also, have seen two international rugby tournaments in town. Aspen – Like a litttle piece of Rodeo Drive dropped in the mountains by the aliens.

Okay – okay … someone has to say it (since I don’t see any ‘cows’ in the above picture):
Where’s the beef?

Nature (NOT the publication) will take care of this the same way it takes care of any animal that dies in the wild. Why must there be any interefence by humans? Because it was a domestic animal and we feel guilty because they died and we didn’t do anything to save them? Let them rot in place. Close access to the hut for 12 months and problem solved.


Oh boy! More pink slime!


The ranger’s explanation doesn’t sound right to me. If they were clever enough to find their way in – how come they weren’t clever enough to find their way out?
Two possibilities: 1) there was one clever cow, everyone else followed, the clever cow died, the others were doomed 2) mass suicide – cow-cult style?
Q. are they all wearing tracksuites and trainers?

Dave Dodd

Michael Palmer says:
April 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm
Explosives again, only now you have a dirty biological bomb!


If this cabin is some historic structure, no one should be using explosives inside or close to it.

Mike McMillan

First thing I thought of was the frozen mammoth calf.
Second thing was let the EPA clean it up.
Third thing was tell some U of Colorado frat boys you know where there’s some cows they can tip.

Michael Palmer

Dave Dodd says:
April 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm
Michael Palmer says:
April 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm
Explosives again, only now you have a dirty biological bomb!

Good one. Come to think of it, it would be THE bomb – radioactive, biological, explosives, and since its from a pharmacology department, there will be some poisons, too.

David Falkner

Don’t forget the barbecque sauce!

Bill Tuttle

Take a chainsaw to the walls, use a “come-along” ratched cable to move the carcasses out into the open, and then let the scavengers do their job.
Winterkill is one reason you pay more for free-range critter meat — low volume of survivors…


explosives: the government answer to everything
Let’s send this to Joe Romm and see how he spins it as a “consequence of Global Warming.”

Steve Lohr

Actually Colorado’s cold dry mountain air can do interesting things with dead cattle. A friend and I were hunting on the north side of the Gunnison river near the Blue Mesa reservior when we spotted a cow laying down in the bottom of a gully. We hiked down through the gully and when we got to it we found it was stone dead and freeze dried like nothing I have ever seen before. It was very strange. Nothing had bothered it. It was just like a taxidermy mount. Although, very poorly done.

TG McCoy (Douglas DC)

Lived in Port Orford, Oregon,one day a very dead Gray Whale washed up on the beach at
Paradise point. This particular Whale had washed up on the Beach at Bandon. This time with
memories of the exploding whale fresh in the ODFW;s mind, they had the Coast Guard tow it out
to sea, and after ripening for a week at sea the thing washed up at Port Orford, now very
smelly the thing stank up the entire city, So one night a phantom back hoe, appeared and making
much noise buried the thing deep in the sands of Paradise,,
No one addmitted to doing it, no one cared, Except a certain road builder was seen renting
a steam cleaner, and seen buying several boxes of tide soap at the local Sentry store…


We used to have an explosives test bunker at our labs. Thick concrete. Looked very much like that cabin, except there was dirt piled on top to damp the noise. It was pretty well used, and had been around long enough for a tree to grow in the dirt on the bunker roof, about 4m high. When you let off a kilo of ANFO the tree and dirt would bounce a couple feet into the air, then fall back down in a big cloud of dust. Never seemed to harm the tree.
In this case a charge of ANFO would both raise the roof nicely and give a good slug of blood and bone fertiliser to the trees methinks. I hope they all wear raincoats when they light it off.

James Bull

You should come to the UK where under EU mad laws all fallen stock must be removed for “safe” (expensive) disposal, meaning that the scavengers now have to go for livestock, pets or the poor old song birds.
Or as a quote one of my sons found says “there is no problem that cannot be solved with explosives”
James Bull

Karl Koehler

This is why the government shouldn’t be allowed to hire rednecks.

F. Ross

Dismantle the cabin. Reassemble in a nearby location.

Bob Diaz

Don’t use explosives, just build a big fire. It would be a heck of a great BBQ. ;-))

As several have already pointed out, a chainsaw cuts ’em up (while they are still frozen) into easily carried pieces right quick. Explosives? Yeah, and let’s swat flies with dynamite too…
But the really ignorant statement is that the cows “couldn’t find their way out”. LOL. Not the brightest animals on the planet, but not as dumb as that. The article even goes on to mention several MORE cows lying dead OUTSIDE of the building. What happened to them? They froze to death waiting for the others to come out?


Karl Koehler says:
April 17, 2012 at 9:48 pm
This is why the government shouldn’t be allowed to hire rednecks.

Oh yeah? What’s wrong with rednecks? They’ll get it done a lot quicker and cheaper. And if you don’t like it, son, why don’t you just do it your self. No doubt we can cut that $1.3 trillion federal deficit pretty darn quick with a few rednecks instead of all those fancy suits running things now.
Maybe you can send you a few of our rednecks to fix up Europe one more time. Like the last time our boys did that in 1942-45 and let’s not forget the All Americans in 1918.

Well, I’m glad I wasn’t the first to think of it–it does seem pretty obvious…….
Need to look up the beached whale experiment….
Just sayin’


I agree with Bob Diaz! Yum! Hey, it was flash frozen… 😉

Baa Humbug

You lot keep making the dumb cow jokes, but they will fight back some day.