PITKIN COUNTY, CO – On June 10, Mountain Rescue Aspen (MRA) successfully carried out two simultaneous rescue operations. Both incidents involved hikers injured on steep trails within the county, highlighting the importance of caution and preparation when adventuring in the backcountry.
The first call came at approximately 12:24 PM from a hiker on a local trail near the Arbaney Kittle trailhead. The caller reported that their hiking partner had taken a fall, possibly breaking their tibia, on a steep, undefined trail off the main path. MRA quickly mobilized fourteen of their team members, who made contact with the injured hiker by 1:31 PM. The MRA team safely extricated the injured party from the trail, delivering them to the trailhead by 3:01 PM for transportation to a local hospital.
Almost concurrently, the Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center (PCREDC) received a second call at 11:48 AM regarding an injury on the Snowmass Creek Trail within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The hiker had been injured when the trail unexpectedly gave way, causing a slide of approximately 50 yards down the hillside. A dozen MRA volunteers quickly assembled and were in the field by 12:20 PM. The injured hiker was reached by 1:11 PM and safely transported to Aspen Valley Hospital for further medical treatment.
In light of these two events, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and MRA have reiterated the potential dangers of backcountry exploration, especially on trails off the main path or in steep and potentially unstable areas. These incidents underscore the importance of several key safety tips:
- Always be aware of your surroundings and personal limitations.
- Keep in mind that alternate routes from main trails can often be more hazardous, including steeper grades and slippery slopes.
- Always be prepared for the unexpected when traveling through the backcountry.
- If possible, hike with a partner and inform others of your hiking plans before you depart.
The swift and efficient response from MRA in both of these cases underlines the critical role of mountain rescue services in ensuring the safety of our outdoor enthusiasts. It is a reminder for all hikers to respect the inherent dangers of wilderness hiking and prioritize safety at all times.
Mountain Rescue Aspen is a 100% volunteer group of first responders but their rescue services are always completely free. They rely on donations to support their work. Learn more or donate here.