Woman rescued from Mount Royal
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
FRISCO – Search and rescue volunteers spent more than five hours rescuing an injured woman from a 1,200-foot cliff on the side of Mount Royal Wednesday night.
Betty Whyel, of LaGrange, Ohio, was hiking down the popular route in Frisco with two friends on Wednesday evening when they lost track of the trail. Whyel fell 30 feet off a ridge and was stopped by a ledge, according to Paulette Horr, spokesperson for the Summit County sheriff’s office.
Whyel appeared to have multiple fractures and lost a lot of blood, Horr said.
Summit County Rescue Group was summoned at about 6 p.m., and a team of four rescuers scaled 1,200 to 1,300 feet up the mountain to reach the patient, which took about an hour, said Brian Taylor, who was part of the rescue team.
They stabilized Whyel as best they could and, given the seriousness of her condition, tried to figure out the quickest way to get her down the steep, rocky mountain, he said.
“It was just real scary because a lot of things were happening really fast,” Taylor said. “That’s when the weather started going south. We were getting reports of lighting at Copper Mountain.”
The team rigged up an anchor system, placing Whyel in a litter ” a titanium gurney-like contraption ” and rappelling 1,300 feet in a high-angle, vertical descent through near darkness despite floodlights shining on the mountain from below.
“It was very technical going down. There was loose rock falling all around us. It was nightfall, we were doing this in the dark,” said Taylor, who described the mission as one of the more difficult rescues he’s been a part of in his seven years with the group.
The evacuation took until about 11 p.m. with 30 rescuers on the scene to help with the operation, said Summit Rescue Group volunteer Dan Burnett.
A nurse at Summit Medical Center declined to release Whyel’s condition on Thursday.
In an interesting twist to Wednesday’s rescue, one of Whyel’s friends who reported the incident, Paul Findley, was arrested on an outstanding failure to pay a warrant, which police discovered while interviewing him.
Findley had bonded out of jail by Thursday afternoon.