National Guard Blackhawk used in Sunday, Monday Aspen-area rescues | AspenTimes.com

National Guard Blackhawk used in Sunday, Monday Aspen-area rescues

Staff report

A 43-year-old injured woman was hoisted into a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter Monday and flown to safety from just below the summit of Snowmass Mountain.

The woman suffered arm and pelvic injuries and was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital, according to a statement from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. Mountain Rescue Aspen already had a team in the field searching for a group of overdue hikers when the report came in about the woman on the west face of Snowmass Mountain on the Lead King Trail.

The helicopter could not land, so rescuers rappelled down, treated her and hoisted her up on a stretcher at about 3:30 p.m.

Rescuers found the overdue party of four hikers about 12:45 p.m. and assisted them out of the field. No one in that party was injured, the statement said.

Information about the injured female hiker was relayed to the sheriff’s office from a personal locator beacon, a device that can text message and send latitude and longitude coordinates. The Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen strongly encourage all backcountry hikers and climbers to carry one of these devices with them while in the backcountry out of cellphone range. “If the injured female had to wait for someone to hike out it would have been 5 to 6 hours,” the statement said.

A Blackhawk also rescued another climber Sunday, who fell on the traverse between Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, according to another sheriff’s office statement released Sunday afternoon.

That climber fell about 20 feet after his hand slipped from a hold, according to the statement. An off-duty Mountain Rescue volunteer climbing with a separate group was able to get to the injured man at about 13,000 feet. He suffered a broken leg, as well as injuries to his hip, back, ribs and head.

The sheriff’s office received that call about 10:10 a.m. Sunday, and the man was airlifted out about 12:35 p.m., the statement said.


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