Local man dies in hiking accident | VailDaily.com

Local man dies in hiking accident

Veronica Whitney

EAST VAIL – Mountain rescuers were still working Sunday to recover the body of a local man who died after falling 150 feet while hiking in the Bighorn Creek trail near East Vail on Saturday.In the meantime, a Durango woman hiked herself out of the Holy Cross trail after getting lost there Saturday and spending the night in the wilderness, police said. This weekend’s hiking incidents follow a two-day long search for a lost hiker last week south of Edwards. On Sunday, police said they couldn’t release the name of the dead hiker because his family had asked not to release it yet. A horseback team from Spraddle Creek Ranch in the afternoon was assisting Vail Mountain Rescue to get where the man’s body lay, said Eagle County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Griffin. Vail Mountain Rescue staged a helicopter rescue Saturday evening, but the local hiker, who appeared to have sustained head injuries, died before rescue workers could reach him, Griffin said. The man had been hiking with a group that included his wife and another person when at about 4 p.m. he fell over a cliff.”He took a fall and didn’t make it. He slipped on a trail while hiking and fell over a cliff 150 feet down,” said Griffin, in charge Sunday of investigating the two hiking incidents.”It was raining while they were hiking; that’s why he slipped.” Griffin said other hikers tried to help. One of the people in the party hiked down to the trailhead after the accident and notified authorities at about 5 p.m.The National Guard helicopter landed at the Vail Mountain School soccer fields and then flew to a meadow near the site of the injury, which was about five miles from the trailhead.Another hiker lost Also Saturday, a 50-year-old Durango woman got separated from her hiking group and spent the night on the Holy Cross wilderness, Griffin said. The woman, who police declined to identify Sunday, hiked by herself out of the Holy Cross trail Sunday morning, police said. “She is an experienced hiker and she had food and water,” Griffin said. “She was a better hiker than the group she hiked with, so she hiked ahead and got disoriented.” The woman faced a night of cold temperatures and possibly snow, Griffin said.”All the trails are dangerous as we learned in the past week. It’s wilderness area,” Griffin added.A similar case last week had mountain rescuers searching on foot, on horseback and by helicopter for more than two days.Eileen Leland, 57, of New Castle, got lost Aug. 30 while hiking on the East Lake Creek trail. Rescue workers found her Wednesday afternoon after she spent 52 hours in the wilderness. Leland, who survived on a single energy bar, was preparing for a third night outdoors when a helicopter rescued her near Middle Lake.Leland was part of a 100 Club outing when she became separated from the group and took a wrong turn on the Dead Dog Trail, which branches off from the East Lake Creek Trail. Dry weather and warmer temperatures at night probably contributed to Leland’s survival, rescue workers said.Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or vwhitney@vaildaily.com. At a glanceHiking incidents• Sept. 4-A local man dies of injuries sustained after falling 150 feet while hiking in East Vail.• Sept. 4- A Durango woman gets lost while hiking in the Holy Cross Wilderness. She spents the night there and hikes out the next day.• Sept. 1- Rescue workers find a New Castle woman after she spent 52 hours lost in the wilderness south of Edwards.Vail, Colorado

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