Summit High student honored for Mount Princeton rescue | SummitDaily.com

Summit High student honored for Mount Princeton rescue

Taylor Morgan (left) was awarded an Honor Medal by the Boy Scouts of America for helping save Vic Freestone (center) from potential injury after a fall on Mount Princeton. Gary Morgan (right) was awarded a medal of merit for his role in the rescue.
Elise Reuter / ereuter@summitdaily.com |

After a long hike down Mount Princeton, Vic Freestone made away with a gash on his head from a situation that could have ended much worse. Last summer, during a camping trip with Silverthorne-based troop 188, Freestone lost control on his way down a steep descent from the summit.

A Summit High school student stopped him as he tumbled down the mountainside, slowing his fall before a boulder field just below.

“It could have been terrible, not just for me but for both of them,” Freestone said. “It worked out really well, and I’m grateful that they were there.”

Taylor Morgan, a freshman at Summit High School, was presented an Honor Medal from the Boy Scouts of America for the rescue last Friday. Only a few of the medals are awarded each year to scouts who attempt to save a life at considerable risk to their own.

“These aren’t awards you walk into a Boy Scout shop and buy,” said Matt Maranto, with the Boy Scouts Denver Area Council.

After he heard about the rescue, Maranto gathered statements from everyone involved, and submitted a letter to the Boy Scouts of America for consideration of the award. Both Taylor and his father, Gary, were honored for their efforts.

A DANGEROUS DESCENT

Last July, Taylor Morgan joined his troop on a weekend camping trip, including a hike up Mount Princeton. After reaching the summit, they stopped for a quick picture before starting their descent, with a storm rolling in quickly.

Hitting a steep scree field just shy of the summit, Taylor Morgan noted he and his father sought more stable footing on either end, while Freestone attempted to hike down the middle.

“All of a sudden he was coming at us Mach one,” Gary Morgan recalled. “He was flailing and I couldn’t get a hold of him.”

Hearing his dad shout, Taylor Morgan turned around and saw Freestone reach toward him, only to knock the glasses off of Gary Morgan’s head. In an instant, Taylor Morgan tackled Freestone before he could slide any further.

“Taylor comes out of nowhere and tackles him, and they both go into a rock,” Gary Morgan said.

Both were scraped and bruised, but Freestone was bleeding from a large gash on his head, and slightly concussed. Acting quickly, Taylor Morgan disinfected and bandaged his head, before he and Gary Morgan helped him with a careful descent down the mountain.

“I stuck to Vic like glue all the way because I was worried he had a concussion,” Taylor Morgan said. “We got down the mountain, but it took a while.”

Taylor Morgan is the sole recipient of the Honor Medal through the Denver Area Council this year. Gary Morgan is one of four Medal of Merit recipients.


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