Aspen’s Dick Jackson, noted outdoorsman, hospitalized after paragliding accident
CARBONDALE – Accomplished Aspen mountaineer and outdoorsman Dick Jackson, injured in a paragliding accident off Mount Sopris early Saturday afternoon, remained in a Denver hospital Sunday.Jackson, 60, was recovering after back surgery Sunday morning at St. Anthony Hospital, a close friend of the family said. Mountain Rescue Aspen members located him on the trail between Thomas and Dinkle lakes, near Carbondale, and Jackson was airlifted to the hospital, according to a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office statement.As of 1:40 p.m. Sunday, he was listed in serious condition, said a hospital spokeswoman.Carbondale resident Tom Myers said he spoke briefly with Jackson before Jackson launched. Myers, who was not with Jackson, said it appeared Jackson was flying solo at the time.Myers said the party he was with watched Jackson for a while as he was in flight, but he was out of their sight when his landing efforts apparently went awry. Jackson called authorities at approximately 12:45 p.m. – sometime after he hit the ground – and reported he was injured, said Pitkin County sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Lumsden. As a team from Mountain Rescue Aspen and the sheriff’s office stationed at the Thomas Lakes trailhead, several hikers came across Jackson, Lumsden said. At least one had a GPS and was able to pinpoint Jackson’s locale for rescuers. Officials relayed the coordinates to the responding Flight for Life helicopter, which landed in a meadow near Jackson. Lumsden said the search and rescue was an “indicator of what modern technology can do.””A victim lands in a remote area, is able to pull out a cell phone and tell us about it, a hiker shows up with a GPS and pegs where he is and relays the coordinates to us,” he said. “This was a pretty unique event.”Jackson, 60, is one of the Roaring Fork Valley’s most well-known and accomplished outdoorsmen, earning a global reputation in alpine mountaineering, rock and ice climbing, and ski mountaineering, among other disciplines.He’s owned Aspen Expeditions/Rocky Mountain Climbing School since 1976.According to the website for Aspen Expeditions, “Dick has climbed and skied extensively in the Colorado Rockies, the Himalaya, Alaska, the European Alps & Africa. His first ascents include the Voie Jackson in Chamonix, France, in 1976. He was on the first American summit ascent of Himulchuli, Nepal, in 1984. Dick has several first technical ascents to his credit in Colorado and Chamonix, France.”Jackson also has been a regular guest expert for local print and broadcast media, often providing an insider’s take on backcountry skiing and avalanche conditions.According to his firm’s website, he’s a current board member of the American Mountain Guides Association, of which he was board president from firstname.lastname@example.org
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