December tallies 11 rescue missions in Vail Valley
EAGLE COUNTY — In the month of December, Vail Mountain Rescue Group was called out 11 times. Below are summaries of the most significant of those missions.
• At 7:45 p.m. Dec. 4, Vail Mountain Rescue Group dispatched five rescuers on snowmobiles to Fowler Hilliard Hut, above Camp Hale, to evacuate a hiker who was suffering from altitude sickness and was having difficulty breathing. The rescuers reached the hut at around midnight and evacuated the sick hiker to the trailhead. All rescuers were out of the field by 3 a.m. on Dec. 5.
• At 9:45 p.m. Dec. 15, five rescuers were dispatched on snowmobiles to search the trails and roads above Camp Hale for a party of overdue hikers. After an extensive search of the area, the hikers were located safe at Jackal Hut. All rescuers were out of the field by 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 16.
• At 7:20 p.m. Dec. 17, Vail Mountain Rescue Group dispatched a team of rescuers to Red Cliff to search for a pair of snowmobilers on a self-guided tour of Shrine Pass who were reported overdue by Nova Guides. The missing snowmobilers were located safe in Red Cliff, where they had walked after abandoning their snowmobiles in the backcountry. All rescuers were out of the field by 8:30 p.m..
• At 4:45 p.m. Dec. 26, a team of rescuers on snowmobiles were dispatched to Gypsum to rescue two motorists in a Jeep who were attempting to drive to Aspen via Cottonwood Pass and had become snowbound 7 miles up the closed mountain road. Rescuers evacuated the stranded motorists and their dog to the trailhead, then transported the party to Edwards. All rescuers were out of the field by 9:45 p.m.
• At 5:45 p.m. Dec. 26, Vail Mountain Rescue Group dispatched a team of four rescuers to Vail Pass to search for a pair of skiers who had become lost in the backcountry after leaving Jay’s Hut. The rescuers located the lost skiers and escorted them back to Jay’s Hut. All rescuers were out of the field by 10:45 p.m.
• At 5 p.m. Dec. 28, Vail Mountain Rescue Group dispatched 12 rescuers to the Booth Falls Trail in Vail to search for a hiker who had been reported overdue after separating from his party on the trail earlier that afternoon. At around 7 p.m., a rescue dog team located the missing hiker in waist-deep snow at the bottom of a steep ravine more than a mile from the trailhead. After leaving his friends, the hiker, an 18-year-old male from Denver, had become disoriented in the dark and had stumbled into the creekbed; the hiker, who was wearing cotton blue jeans and canvas tennis shoes caked in snow and ice, was suffering from hypothermia and unable to extract himself. After warming the subject with heat blankets and replacing his frozen shoes with insulated boots, the rescuers assisted the hiker up the ravine and down to the trailhead, where he was transferred to a waiting ambulance. All rescuers were out of the field by 11 p.m.
• At 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 29, Vail Mountain Rescue Grouop received a call for assistance from three men on snowboards who had become lost in the dark in south Game Creek Bowl above the Minturn Mile. Vail Ski Patrol assisted four rescuers by providing access to the area via Eagle’s Nest. The subjects were located by GPS and given directions to reach the Minturn Mile Trail where they were met by the deployed Vail Mountain Rescue Group field team and assisted to the trailhead. All rescuers were out of the field by 2 a.m. on Dec. 30.
About the Vail Mountain Rescue Group
Vail Mountain Rescue Group is an all-volunteer organization based in Edwards that does not charge for the services it provides and does not receive any direct government funding to support its operations.
To learn how not to become a statistic while recreating this winter in the valley’s unforgiving backcountry, go to http://www.vail mountainrescue.org/backcountry-tips.
To make a tax-deductible donation to the team, go to http://www.vailmountain rescue.org/donation.