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This mountain rescue shows what can go wrong when hiking during the coronavirus pandemic

John Meyer, Denver Post
Members of the Alpine Rescue Team tend to a 26-year-old man injured on St. Mary’s Glacier last week. The unidentified man suffered lower body fractures after a fall. (Provided by Dawn Wilson, Alpine Rescue Team)

Since the coronavirus began spreading in Colorado, volunteer search and rescue teams have been sounding alarms about what a dangerous mountain mission might look like with a potentially lethal contagion complicating the operation. It was only a matter of time before one Front Range team found out.

About 20 volunteer members of the Alpine Rescue Team — which operates in Jefferson, Clear Creek and Gilpin counties — last week rescued a 26-year-old man who had camped at St. Mary’s Glacier the night before and apparently fell while hiking on steep snow and ice without an ice ax or crampons. Seven members of the team came in close contact with the victim, according to Dawn Wilson, ART’s public information officer.

The victim slid into a tree and suffered “fractures along his lower body,” Wilson said, adding that it could have been much worse. “He was lucky he didn’t hit his head.”

Wilson said she did not have permission to identify the man, a Denver-area resident who was later hospitalized, adding that he is unwilling to discuss his experience with the media.

Read more via The Denver Post.


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