Rescuers respond to injured hiker near Snowmass Lake
Hiker treated for 'non-life threatening injuries'
Bystanders, Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteers, CareFlight of the Rockies and other public safety organizations helped respond to an injured hiker near Snowmass Lake on Tuesday, according to a news release.
The Pitkin County Regional Emergency Communications Center received a report of an injured hiker near Snowmass Lake at 4:25 p.m. Tuesday, according to the release. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office alerted the Mountain Rescue Aspen backcountry rescue organization of the need for a search and rescue mission at 4:30 p.m.
Snowmass Lake is located just east of the 14,099-foot Snowmass Mountain in the Maroon-Bells Snowmass Wilderness. The lake is about an 8-mile hike from the end of Divide Way near Snowmass Village and is also located along the Four Pass Loop.
A SPOT Rescue Beacon had sent out an emergency message to the FocusPoint Overwatch and Rescue Center, which forwarded the report to local dispatch, the release said.
The center also reported “that the injured hiker was a 27-year-old woman with a possible open leg fracture and head injury suffered during a 400 ft. fall down a steep snow and scree covered slope.” At least three bystanders, including a nurse, were helping to care for the injured woman.
“At 4:50 p.m., CareFlight of the Rockies was contacted with a request for a helicopter to assist in the rescue of the injured woman,” the release said.
A CareFlight helicopter inserted a two-person Mountain Rescue Aspen team at Snowmass Lake and two rescue teams entered the field on foot between 6 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., according to the release.
The rescuers who arrived via helicopter “made contact with the injured woman and began stabilizing her injuries,” the release states. “Then, with assistance from the other bystanders on scene, the MRA rescuers began slowly moving the injured woman towards the helicopter landing zone.”
The helicopter made additional flights back over the course of about an hour and a half to bring in a flight nurse, flight paramedic and two more Mountain Rescue Aspen responders.
Rescuers moved the injured woman about half a mile to the helicopter landing zone and began loading her into the helicopter by 8:15 p.m. The helicopter arrived at Aspen Valley Hospital at 8:30 p.m. The injured woman was treated “for non-life threatening injuries to her leg and head,” according to the release.
By 12:05 a.m. all Mountain Rescue Aspen responders were out of the field and the incident was closed.
“The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen would like to use this opportunity to remind backcountry travelers to always carry and use appropriate safety equipment for the terrain and conditions that may be encountered,” the release states. “The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen would also like to thank CareFlight of the Rockies and the on scene bystanders for their assistance during this rescue.”