Mountain Rescue Aspen performs night rescue near Taylor Pass |

Mountain Rescue Aspen performs night rescue near Taylor Pass

ASPEN – A stranded paraplegic snowmobiler was rescued south of Aspen late Saturday night, authorities said Sunday.

Lisa Wright, of Aspen, contacted the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday night to report that her husband, Denis Murray, was stranded with his snowmobile in the area between Gold Hill and Taylor Pass in Pitkin County, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office. The area is approximately 15 miles south of Aspen in rugged, mountainous terrain.

Wright and Murray had begun their trip on two snowmobiles from Aspen earlier in the day, the Sheriff’s Office statement said. The two rode from the base of Aspen Mountain, up the mountain and south along Richmond Ridge.

In the area near Gold Hill and Taylor Pass, Murray’s snowmobile broke down, the statement said. Murray, who is a paraplegic, was not able to ride with Wright on her snowmobile. Wright rode out by herself to seek assistance. Murray stayed behind with warm clothing, blankets, food and water, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

After returning to Aspen, Wright contacted the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, which notified Mountain Rescue Aspen. Because of the risks to rescuers, nighttime search-and-rescue operations are rare and are usually only taken on in cases of serious injury or illness, according to the Sheriff’s Office. However, due to the potential risk of cold-related injury to Murray, a nighttime rescue was deemed acceptable.

A rescue team guided by Wright left Aspen by snowmobile, finding Murray with no injuries nearly two hours later, the Sheriff’s Office said.

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