Mountaineer rescued from Quandary Peak |

Mountaineer rescued from Quandary Peak

Summit Daily Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado
Members of Summit Rescue Group and Alpine Rescue take an injured mountaineer to a Flight-for-Life helicopter near the Blue Lakes at the foot of Quandary Peak Friday. (Summit Daily/Eric Drummond)

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. ” A lone mountaineer in his mid-30s was injured after falling about 200 feet from the south side of Quandary Peak Friday morning.

About 30 rescuers scrambled to save the injured man, who fell among protruding rocks from the steep Monte Cristo couloir.

Rescuers found him unconscious, and he was not wearing a helmet, said Joe Ben Slivka, mission coordinator with Summit County Rescue Group.

“It probably could have made a really big difference for him in this case,” he said.

The man was taken by Flight-for-Life helicopter to St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver. The medical treatment and evacuation took more than three hours and included assistance from the Alpine Rescue Team of Evergreen, Slivka said.

The man fell about 500 feet from the flank of the14,265-foot peak south of Breckenridge. Another climbing party called 911 about 9:15 a.m., according to Mike Schmitt, spokesman for the Summit County team.

The helicopter was summoned after swirling winds precluded using a long line to take the victim off the mountain, he said.

Slivka said it was cold and winds were between 20 and 30 mph. He said rescuers use the couloir for training, but that he hasn’t seen many of these types of calls in June.

Teams established five snow anchors, combined with body belays and some rock work to lower the man inside a rescue litter to the road, Slivka said.

The operation “went really well,” and the help from passing skiers was appreciated, he said.

“Always remember that you never know when it’s going to come up and bite you,” Slivka said, adding that it’s important to bring along other people and safety equipment.

The Monte Cristo couloir is a popular spring snow climb that extends from the Blue Lake reservoir 2,500 feet up to the summit of the mountain. It is considered a moderate climb but an expert ski descent.

Breckenridge council member Jeffrey Bergeron said he and his wife were on the peak’s north side Friday morning.

“It was so windy that it blew one of the ski poles out of my hand,” he said. “I think it’s probably one of the windiest days I remember up there.”