August Vail Mountain Rescue missions
EAGLE COUNTY — In the month of August, Vail Mountain Rescue Group was called out 17 times. Below are summaries of the most significant of those missions. For more information, call Dan Smith at 970-470-2693.
• At 2:15 p.m. Aug. 2, a Flight for Life medical team was dispatched to aid a hiker who was in medical distress after suffering an asthma attack near the summit of Mount Bierstadt. Flight for Life was uncertain that it would be able to evacuate the subject due to the subject’s weight. Vail Mountain Rescue Group dispatched a two-member hoist team to HAATS in Gypsum who were prepared to airlift the patient if Flight for Life was unsuccessful in its extraction attempt. Ultimately, Flight for Life airlifted the patient, and all Vail Mountain Rescue Group rescuers were out of the field, without injury, by 4:45 p.m.
• At 5:30 p.m. Aug. 7, four hikers camped at Pitkin Lake reported that one of the members of their party had suffered a severe laceration on the bottom of his right foot and was unable to walk back to the trailhead. Vail Mountain Rescue Group dispatched a nine-member ground team to the site. After stabilizing the patient and consulting with a local physician by radio, the Vail Mountain Rescue team remained with the patient overnight; a HAATS UH-72 Lakota airlifted the patient to the Vail Valley Medical Center early the next morning. All rescuers were out of the field, without injury, by 9:45 a.m. Aug. 8.
• Aug. 14: Torreys Peak mission to rescue a hiker with reported broken leg. HAATS requested that two Vail Mountain Rescue personnel accompany their crew in case a hoist extraction was needed. Upon arrival, the UH-60 was able to land the Vail Mountain Rescue Group team, which met an Alpine Mountain rescue team on the ground. The subject and all rescuers were extracted to the Alpine ICP near the twin tunnels.
• At 7:30 a.m. Aug. 16, Vail Mountain Rescue Group fielded four members, including a dog team, who were airlifted with other rescue teams via a HAATS CH-47 to the Daisy Pass area in Gunnison County to assist in a mutual aid search for a missing hiker (reported on Aug. 13) that was coordinated by Crested Butte Search & Rescue. The search was suspended after rescuers failed to find any sign of the missing hiker; all rescuers were out of the field, without injury, by 6 p.m.
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• At 4 a.m. Aug. 18, Vail Mountain Rescue Group fielded a team that was airlifted by HAATS to assist a climber who was reported to be stranded on a ledge in the Seven Castles formation near Basalt. Team members were unable to reach the climber that night, but remained near the stranded climber to keep him awake and prevent him from falling. At first light that morning, a Vail Mountain Rescue Group hoist team flown by HAATS was able to evacuate the climber and other rescuers; all rescuers were out of the field, without injury, by 8 a.m. on Aug. 18.
• At 6:30 a.m. Aug. 20, Vail Mountain Rescue Group dispatched a six-member ground team to Burnt Mountain to assist in a mutual aid search for a missing hiker. After an extensive but unsuccessful search of the area where the hiker was reported last seen, all rescuers were out of the field, without injury, by 9 p.m.
• At 1:45 p.m. Aug. 23, a hiker became disoriented during a snowstorm at the summit of the Mount of the Holy Cross, descended to Cross Creek and activated a personal locator beacon. The Vail Mountain Rescue Group Mission Coordinator was able to reach the subject by cell phone, and determined that he was in need of help to find his way out. Vail Mountain Rescue Group dispatched a two-member ground team, which hiked up the Cross Creek trail and at 8 p.m. located the subject, who was mildly hypothermic, but otherwise uninjured and extracted to the Cross Creek trailhead on foot. All Vail Mountain Rescue Group rescuers were out of the field, without injury, by 3 a.m. Aug. 24.
• At 6 p.m. Aug. 23, two parties of hikers that had summited the Mount of the Holy Cross earlier that afternoon reported that two separate hikers from their groups had not returned to the trailhead. The subjects, who were last seen hiking together below the summit, reached the summit later that afternoon but became disoriented during a snowstorm and descended together to Cross Creek, where they spent the night. At 7:30 a.m. Aug. 24, Vail Mountain Rescue dispatched a four-member ground team up the Cross Creek trail; the subjects, who were uninjured, were located at noon and were evacuated to the Cross Creek trailhead on foot; all rescuers were out of the field, without injury, by 3 p.m.