Lightning on Bierstadt sends 3 hikers to hospital |

Lightning on Bierstadt sends 3 hikers to hospital

GEORGETOWN — Lightning struck Sunday near the top of Mount Bierstadt, one of Colorado’s most popular 14,000-foot peaks to hike, sending three people to hospitals.

It is not clear if they were directly hit by lightning, but one hiker was in serious condition.

Rescuers and an Army National Guard helicopter responded to Mount Bierstadt, a 14,065-foot peak about 40 miles west of Denver, and helped some hikers get off the mountain. All those who were on the mountain made it off safely.

Eight adults were transported from the trailhead: five who refused further treatment and three who were taken to Denver-area hospitals, the Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office said.

Madeleine Ripley told KUSA-TV that she was shocked by a strike while touching a rock.

“I felt lightning and I just started running back down and I kept going,” she said.

Hiker Pete Hunter told the station that the storm seemed to build right on the mountain rather than moving in from the distance.

The summits of Colorado’s 14ers are usually rocky and exposed, making them prone to lightning strikes when afternoon storms develop. Hikers often start early in the day so they can be off the tops by the afternoon.

Mount Bierstadt, named for the Western landscape painter Albert Bierstadt, is one of the most popular to climb because the hike is considered relatively easy and it is fairly close to Denver.

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