Crested Butte plumber meets mountain lion |

Crested Butte plumber meets mountain lion

Allen Best
Vail, CO Colorado

CRESTED BUTTE, Colorado “- Crawling under a rural cabin to look at some frozen pipes, plumber Josh Pierce decided he wasn’t getting paid nearly enough.

About 20 feet into the two-foot space, with not even a wrench in his hand, he encountered what he quickly realized was a young mountain lion.

“After it hissed and spit at me, I realized I was looking into the eyes of a lion not more than five feet away,” he told the Crested Butte News.

The News notes that when facing mountain lions, the rule of thumb is to make yourself look large. “Unfortunately, since Pierce was on his stomach, he didn’t have that luxury,” the newspaper explained dryly.

The lion was in pounce mode, its fangs bared. So Pierce did what seemed like the only thing possible: He backed away, as best he could. It was good enough for the big cat.

At some point, the cat was rousted out of his wintertime refuge in the crawl space and killed.

CRESTED BUTTE ” A rescue squad in Crested Butte had a tight window of opportunity in late December when learning that a man staying in a cabin about six miles from a trailhead was suffering a stroke.

It was 20 degrees below zero, and the wind was blowing. The location of the cabin was in Dead Man’s Gulch.

Rescuers hopped on their snowmobiles and, once at the cabin, bundled the patient in blankets and put him in a toboggan, sandwiched between two of the rescuers.

Ross Orton, coordinator of Emergency Medical Service, told the Crested Butte News that a drug must be administered within three hours of the stroke to dissolve the victim’s blood clots.

Just getting everybody to the trailhead took 25 minutes.

“We had a very black-and-white window of opportunity,’ Orton said, “and we realized were pushing the three-hour window.”

They made the deadline with 13 minutes to spare.

CRESTED BUTTE ” Minimum wage has increased in Colorado, and is now at $7.02. That compares with the federal minimum of $5.85.

But the new law has no real effect in Crested Butte ” or, for that matter, probably any other mountain town. At Crested Butte Mountain Resort, for example, the basic entry-level wage for non-tipped jobs is $8.16 per hour.

“I don’t know that it will really affect us,” says Christi Matthews, director of the local chamber of commerce, told the Crested Butte News. “Minimum wage is not really a livable wage in Crested Butte.”

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