Injured climber rescued on Snowmass Mountain on Sunday

Mountain Rescue Aspen, CareFLIGHT helicopter responded to incident on local 14er

Staff Report
Snowmass Lake and Snowmass Mountain on Saturday, July 3, 2021.
Kaya Williams/Aspen Times

Rescuers and a helicopter responded to an injured climber on Snowmass Mountain on Sunday after the 29-year-old Denver woman suffered two leg injuries due to rockfall, according to a Pitkin County news release.

The Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center received a 911 call from the woman’s climbing companion around 10:30 a.m., according to the release. They were located at an altitude of about 13,500 feet on Snowmass Mountain, which is located about 14 miles west of Aspen and tops out at a summit of 14,099 feet over Snowmass Lake.

“The two climbers were aided by a solo climber who happened upon them, an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), who was making a solo attempt to climb Snowmass Mountain,” the release states. 

“The group of three climbers were able to communicate with Emergency Dispatchers via cell phone, but communication was not reliable as the cell phone calls dropped repeatedly,” according to the release. “The EMT aiding the climbers reported that the injured climber was unable to put the entire weight of her body on her injured leg, and that any further movement down the mountain would be slow and laborious.” 

Mountain Rescue Aspen mobilized 23 members of the all-volunteer rescue team. The medical air transport service CareFLIGHT of the Rockies also mobilized a helicopter to respond.

The helicopter inserted a Mountain Rescue Aspen member into a snowfield at about 13,000 feet on the east side of the mountain around 12:30 p.m. “in an attempt to locate the injured climber,” according to the release. The rescuer located the climber around 1 p.m. and assessed her injuries. 

“After assessing injuries and stabilizing the patient, the group was able to help the injured climber move approximately 300 yards across the slope, where the helicopter from CareFLIGHT of the Rockies had landed,” the release states. 

“At approximately 2:12 p.m., the injured climber was loaded into the helicopter and flown to Aspen Valley Hospital for further medical treatment,” according to the release. “All rescuers were out of the field by 3:00 p.m.”