Quandary climber rescued
BRECKENRIDGE – Two dozen rescuers from four search and rescue groups recovered an injured climber from a ridge on Quandary Peak Sunday and Monday.The man, whose identity was not known Monday, is in his early- to mid-30s and from the Front Range, said Summit Search and Rescue Group liaison Mike Schmitt.Rescuers got the call at 7:10 p.m. Sunday that one of two men had fallen about 40 feet from a ridge on the northeast corner of the 14,265-foot mountain in the Tenmile Range.The local group got two teams into the field before they received a second call for a lost hiker on the opposite side of the mountain. That hiker eventually found her way safely to the Blue Lakes trailhead.According to Schmitt, the two men – both experienced climbers – were climbing a ridge to summit Quandary when one fell, injuring his leg.It took almost four hours to climb about 2,000 vertical feet to reach the man, by which point it was dark, Schmitt said.”Conditions were so horrible,” he said. “The snow was hardening up and getting icy. First there was hard-packed snow on a steep slope, it was icy on the top and then there was the scree field. “The scree fields were some of the worst. They ranged from boulders as big as large trucks to scree so small we couldn’t get a good foothold. All of it was really dangerous,” Schmitt said.Those conditions forced crews to bring the man down the mountain from one belay station at a time and at some points, resort to using rescuers themselves as anchors. They got off the mountain at 8:30 a.m. Monday.Schmitt said recent rescue certification that helped boost self-confidence among rescuers, the fact that the second man had emergency medical training and assistance from Alpine, Vail Mountain, Grand County and Park County search and rescue teams helped make the rescue a success.”If they hadn’t come in this morning (Monday), we’d still be in the field right now,” Schmitt said. “We always feel really confident in what we’re doing, but we were so worn out; it was a lot of work by everybody.” This rescue was the first of the summer climbing season. Rescuers respond to an average of six rescues each year on Quandary Peak, one of the most popular 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado.”It really draws people here,” Schmitt said. “We don’t blame anyone for going in the backcountry and enjoying themselves. Sometimes things happen: anchors give out, rocks fall, people fall. These people were totally prepared; it was really nice to see that – it’s rare.”Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or email@example.com.
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