Texas hiker rescued after leaving group for solo attempt of Four Pass Loop near Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Texas hiker rescued after leaving group for solo attempt of Four Pass Loop near Aspen

Staff reports

A Texas man who decided to break from his hiking group Friday morning to attempt the Four Pass Loop near Aspen was rescued Saturday afternoon by more than 20 volunteers with Mountain Rescue Aspen.

The 54-year-old from Austin started hiking early Friday from the Maroon Lake parking area and left his group about four-and-a-half hours later to try the 27-mile loop.

“The reporting party stated the overdue hiker was going to walk between 6 and 8 miles towards Buckskin Pass, then ‘see how he was feeling’ before deciding whether to continue or not,” according to a news release Sunday morning from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

The man’s friends called authorities on Saturday, and three teams of MRA volunteers fanned out across the area to interview other hikers, including a couple who had camped with him Friday night in the Favert Basin area.

He was found near the summit of West Maroon Pass at 3:30 p.m. Saturday by MRA members. After being treated for a knee injury, the man was helped to Crater Lake, where more volunteers carried him down in a litter to an ambulance at the Maroon Bells day-use area.

The Four Pass Loop has more than 8,000 vertical feet of climbing in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area and is about 9 miles south of Aspen. The four 12,000-foot passes include West Maroon, Buckskin, Trail Rider and Frigid Air.

“Intentional separation is one of the leading causes of search and rescue missions,” the Sheriff’s Office said in the news release. “Often times other hiking buddies are your quickest resource for help when the unplanned or unexpected occurs.”