Man airlifted off Maroon Peak, uses satellite device to call for assistance

Staff report
Maroon Peak as seen from North Maroon Peak in September 2018 near Aspen.
Jason Auslander / The Aspen Times

An 18-year-old man had to be airlifted off Maroon Peak near Aspen earlier this week after sustaining an ankle injury and getting stuck on a ledge, officials said Thursday.

The man contacted a national call center through a satellite communication device at 3 p.m. Tuesday to say he was stuck on Maroon Peak, according to a news release Thursday from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. His location was relayed to the Sheriff’s Office, which along with Mountain Rescue Aspen put together a team.

About 4:45 p.m. a Blackhawk helicopter with two MRA team members left the Aspen airport and flew toward the mountain while a group of five from MRA started to hike in. The air team spotted the man and lifted him out just before 5 p.m. Maroon Peak is a 14,163-foot mountain southwest of Aspen.

“The hiker was winched from the ledge and into the Blackhawk then flown to Aspen-Pitkin County Airport where an Aspen ambulance was waiting to assess the subject,” according to the news release.

In a separate news release later Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office said that effective immediately, satellite communications devices that have the capability for two-way texting may communicate directly from within Pitkin County to the Pitkin County Regional Communications Center by sending a text message to

This dedicated email address will notify on-duty communications personnel that an emergency message has been received. Dispatchers can then communicate directly with the device wherever it is located.

“This gives our dispatchers the ability to ask questions about the emergency and update the sender on the response being coordinated through the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office as they mobilize the necessary resources,” said Brett Loeb, 911 Commander for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, “this enhances any response by efficiently clarifying the situation, the location and environment, and any injuries.”

Loeb said trying to call 911 should be the first option, then trying a text message from a phone, then go to the device for help with either the SOS button or a text.