Rescuers extract injured hiker in overnight wilderness mission
July 29, 2010
SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County Rescue Group carried an injured hiker out of the wilderness at the north end of the county Thursday afternoon, concluding an overnight effort involving about 20 group members.
The 78-year-old hiker was with his 45-year-old son on their annual trip to a lake in the Gore Range (in the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area), about 5 miles south of Elliot Ridge, said SCRG spokesman Jim Koegel.
“In the area of the lake, the older gentleman slipped on a log and cut himself on a branch to the point where he couldn’t walk,” Koegel said.
Rescuers were dispatched at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday before departing on all-terrain vehicles from the Spring Creek Trailhead at about 8:30 p.m. Once they reached the wilderness area, group members hiked about 4 miles.
Koegel said the son was able to communicate with Grand County dispatch through his cell phone, but rescuers were unable to contact him directly. This made it difficult to find the father and son.
Conditions were rainy during much of the mission.
Rescuers searched until stopping to camp at about 2 a.m. They found the two the next morning at about 6:30 a.m.
“Because we had to hand-carry (the injured hiker), we didn’t have him out until about 1:30 this afternoon,” Koegel said Thursday.
The injured man refused medical care, but his son planned to take him to a hospital.
Koegel said the two were well-prepared for the backcountry and have been taking the annual hike for more than 30 years. The son is from Washington state and the father is from the Denver area.
SDN reporter Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.