In a dramatic display of rescue operations this weekend, two hikers were successfully airlifted from the summit of Pikes Peak after finding themselves stranded due to heavy snow. The series of events has since prompted a stern reminder from authorities about the vital importance of mountain safety and preparedness. Read more about this recent Pikes Peak rescue mission below.
Pikes Peak Rescue Operation Details
El Paso County Search and Rescue (EPCSAR) was called into action on both Friday and Saturday, responding to a distress call about two stranded hikers near the summit. Unseasonably heavy snowfall, the result of recent storms, made trekking up or down the peak an unviable option, the rescue organization detailed in their social media updates.
Recognizing the severity of the situation, a Flight For Life helicopter was dispatched to assist in the rescue mission. “A[n] incredibly huge thank you to Flight For Life Colorado for flying two of our members in to help the hikers, transporting both of our subjects to the hospital, and bringing our members back down,” EPCSAR said. While the hikers were transported to the hospital, no specific information was provided about possible injuries.
The rescue operation also benefited from the support of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and Barr Camp. Both provided critical assistance, helping to transport additional members upward and hosting them throughout the mission. EPCSAR’s statements reiterated the invaluable support, “Another gigantic thank you to the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and Barr Camp.”
Mount Safety Lessons Learned: 5 Tips to Stay Safe
The incident has served as a stark reminder of the unpredictable conditions that can be encountered in the Colorado backcountry. With the potential for weather to change quickly, even the most experienced hikers can find themselves in perilous situations.
This Pikes Peak rescue mission provides a series of important lessons for other outdoor enthusiasts. It highlights the need for hikers to be prepared for unexpected situations, which could include carrying extra food, water, and warm layers. A GPS device such as a Garmin inReach, is also a recommended tool for hikers to maintain communication lines with emergency response teams.
In the wake of this incident, here are a few critical tips for mountain safety:
Check Weather Reports: Always verify weather conditions before setting out. Mountain weather can change rapidly and dramatically.
Carry Essential Gear: This includes food, water, warm clothing, and a first-aid kit. Even if you plan a day hike, it’s essential to be prepared for unexpected overnight stays.
Navigation Equipment: Carry and know how to use a topographic map, compass, and GPS device. Devices like the Garmin inReach can help maintain communication in case of emergencies.
Inform Someone About Your Hike: Always let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return. In case of any problems, someone should know to alert the authorities.
Stay on Marked Trails: This reduces the risk of getting lost and minimizes damage to the environment.
In the face of ever-changing mountain conditions, the key takeaway is that preparation and making informed decisions are the best ways to ensure safety while enjoying the great outdoors.