Mountain Rescue, local authorities have busy with trail calls | AspenTimes.com

Mountain Rescue, local authorities have busy with trail calls

Staff report

Volunteers from Mountain Rescue Aspen located a hiker lost on North Maroon Peak on Thursday night and walked him out of the wilderness, according to a statement.

The uninjured climber was first reported to authorities about 8 p.m. Wednesday by his climbing partner, who said they'd voluntarily parted because they were moving at different paces, the statement says. The partner said he wanted to notify law enforcement of the situation but was not requesting assistance because his friend was not in distress.

However, the climber still hadn't returned by 3:45 p.m. Thursday, so 25 MRA volunteers on three different teams began searching for the man, according to the statement. Teams included those on foot, an observation crew and a third flying a drone.

The hiker was located at about 6:30 p.m. "cliffed out" in an off-route area and walked out under his own power, the statement says.

Volunteers from Mountain Rescue Aspen and Pitkin County sheriff's deputies had their hands full Friday with two rescue calls, including one that briefly closed a popular hiking trail.

A 47-year-old tourist broke her ankle after noon about three-quarters of the way up the Ute Trail, a steep hike to the top of Ute Mountain on Aspen Mountain's east side, said Alex Burchetta, director of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office.

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The trail was closed from about 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to allow rescue crews to carry the woman down, he said.

A second search and rescue call came in about 1 p.m. from a hiker on the 4 Pass Loop Trail, who reported that another man he was hiking with had disappeared, Burchetta said.

"The two were hiking together, got separated and the missing person never materialized again," he said.

As of about 4:15 p.m., an MRA volunteer was up in an airplane flying around the area of Trail Rider Pass looking for the missing man, Burchetta said.

However, Pitkin County authorities were relatively certain the person was missing in Gunnison County, which was preparing a mountain rescue team to enter the area Friday afternoon, he said. The MRA volunteer was acting as a spotter for that team, Burchetta said.

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