Black Hawk helicopter saves injured hiker Sunday on Tenmile Range | SummitDaily.com

Black Hawk helicopter saves injured hiker Sunday on Tenmile Range

By Eli Pace epace@summitdaily.com

Hikers skirt around the false summit between Tenmile Peak (12,933 feet) and Peak Three (12,676) on an attempt of the Tenmile Traverse. The full traverse from Peak One to Peak 10 covers 14.5 miles and 8,500 feet of climbing, which takes anywhere from 6.5 hours to 15+ hours.

On Sunday, a 52-year-old man from out-of-state tumbled about 60 feet down the side of a mountain while hiking a ridgeline along the the Tenmile Trail.

The Summit County Rescue Group sent out three teams, said spokesman Charles Pitman, but because of the extent of the hiker's injuries and where he fell — a ridgeline between Peaks 2 and 3 — the crews opted to request a Black Hawk helicopter from the high-altitude Army National Guard Aviation training site in Gypsum.

Black Hawk rescues are somewhat rare for Summit County, said Pitman. Luckily, one was available.

After picking up another rescue crew in Vail, Pitman said, the Black Hawk found the injured hiker, lowered a rescuer down to him on a cable and hoisted the man aboard.

The injured hiker was then flown to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. His injuries were serious but not believed to be life threatening. The Summit County rescue crews were expected to spend the evening hours Sunday hiking out.

The rescues come after a 67-year-old hiker died last week when he suffered a heart attack about a half-mile up Quandary Peak.

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The Summit County Rescue Group reported the man, later identified as 67-year-old David Law of Casper, Wyoming, was with a group of friends intending to summit Quandary when he collapsed at the side of the trail.

At the same time the Summit County Rescue Group was responding to the injured hiker on the Tenmile Trail on Sunday, they took reports of a dirtbiker who'd wrecked and suffered facial injuries and what appeared to be another hiker signaling for help with a mirror on top of another mountain.

The dirtbiker was ushered out of the backcountry by a private vehicle and the stranded hiker turned out to be nothing more than a metal sign blowing in the wind, Pitman said, adding that it's been quite a busy summer for the group.

"That was three calls all at more or less the same time," he said, "but we have to check it out because that's what we do."