CRESTED BUTTE, CO — A hiker was seriously injured Saturday after a terrifying 300-foot fall from the top of Judd Falls into the river below, according to a statement from Crested Butte Search and Rescue. The victim was then swept several hundred feet downstream in a dramatic accident that triggered an extensive rescue operation.
The rescue mission involved a challenging 300-foot uphaul to extract the hiker from the riverbed. Once secured, the hiker was transported via a four-wheel-drive vehicle down to a waiting helicopter.
Details regarding what caused the hiker to fall from the popular trail remain unclear. Further information about their condition is yet to be disclosed.
Crested Butte Mountain Rescue, Crested Butte Fire, and St. Mary’s CareFlight collaborated on the operation. The mountain rescue team later praised the combined efforts on Facebook, writing, “Big thanks to all involved. Great team effort. We wish the patient a speedy recovery.”
Judd Falls Trail, known for its scenic views and natural beauty, is a 2.2-mile hike with a 462-foot gain. Despite the accident, it is typically regarded as an ‘easy’ and family-friendly trail, according to popular trail mapping service, AllTrails.
While the cause of this unfortunate accident remains unknown, it serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers hikers can face, even on trails rated as ‘easy.’
Here are some safety tips for hikers:
Stay on the Trail: Avoid straying from established trails, which are designed to take you safely through the terrain. Cutting across switchbacks or creating new paths can lead to accidents.
Prepare for the Unexpected: Weather conditions can change rapidly, and trails can be more challenging than expected. Always carry a map, compass, and first-aid kit.
Communicate: Always let someone know your hiking plans and estimated return time.
Stay Hydrated and Fed: Pack enough water and high-energy snacks for your trip.
Respect Nature: Remember that you are in nature’s territory. Keep a safe distance from wildlife and practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the environment for future visitors.
This incident underscores the importance of these practices and the invaluable work of search and rescue teams who ensure the safety of outdoor enthusiasts. We wish the hiker a speedy recovery.