Injured man rescued off Snowmass Mountain |

Injured man rescued off Snowmass Mountain

Staff report

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office received a request around 2:50 p.m. Saturday from Gunnison County to help rescue an injured climber on Snowmass Mountain, according to a Sheriff’s Office statement issued around 9:15 p.m. Snowmass Mountain is one of Colorado’s fourteeners, with an elevation of 14,098 feet.

The injured climber, identified as 61-year-old Gary M. Bender of Colorado Springs, had fallen while following a popular route up the mountain known as the “S” route, according to the statement.

At approximately 13,000 feet in elevation in a moderately steep section of the climb, Bender suffered injuries in the fall that prevented him from descending. One of the group members returned to Marble, where he called for help. The two other members of the group stayed with the patient. Mountain Rescue Aspen began mobilizing, and the Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of the Summit County Flight for Life helicopter. At about 6 p.m., the helicopter returned to the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport with the patient, who was then transported to Aspen Valley Hospital.

Fifteen members of Mountain Rescue Aspen were involved in the rescue. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office reminds anyone entering the backcountry to plan ahead and bring proper equipment. Anyone entering the backcountry should not operate in the mountains beyond the abilities of all members of any group, the Sheriff’s Office said.

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