Eight Quandary rescues so far this season | AspenTimes.com

Eight Quandary rescues so far this season

Caitlin Row
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Timothy FaustUnder a full moon, Mike James of the Summit County Rescue Group searches for a route to rescue two stranded climbers on the south face of Mount Quandary Monday morning. The two hikers, visiting from Tennessee, ascended Quandary via the west ridge, but became disoriented as they descended and lost the route.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – The Summit County Rescue Group came to the aid of two hikers Monday after they “cliffed out” and spent the night on Quandary Peak, a fourteener near Breckenridge.

The technical evacuation took six hours; rescuers lowered the men with a 200-foot rope to the bottom of the cliff bands. Both hikers were uninjured.

It was the Summit County Rescue Group’s eighth mission on Quandary Peak so far this year.

The two hikers, who were visiting from Tennessee, began their climb from the Blue Lakes trailhead Sunday morning.

They ascended Quandary Peak via the west ridge, but became disoriented during their descent and lost the route, said Summit County Rescue Group spokeswoman Anna DeBattiste. After realizing they were stuck, the men spent the night on a ledge.

“These people were in almost the same place as the last cliffed-out people in July,” DeBattiste said.

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According to DeBattiste, the search effort began at 6 a.m. Monday, after a family member notified authorities Sunday night that the men hadn’t returned. Sixteen rescuers started searching from the Blue Lakes trailhead, and the two hikers were spotted from the west side at about 8 a.m. They were unable to go up or down; it’s a spot where several other technical evacuations have been required.

“This is not about people going up the east ridge and taking a shortcut down,” DeBattiste said. “This is about people heading up the west ridge and then losing the route. It’s not really a trail.”

Though the hikers were well prepared – they carried extra food and water, several layers of warm clothing, a flashlight and a whistle – DeBattiste cautioned that the route they chose is for skilled climbers.

“If you take the west ridge route at all, you need to be more than a casual hiker,” DeBattiste said. Guidebooks that indicate Quandary is an easy peak to climb are misleading, she added.

“It’s not a casual hike. You need good route-climbing skills and experience with a more technical hike.”

crow@summitdaily.com

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