Saturday, July 26, 2014

Man rescued with life-threatening injuries in Rocky Mountain National Park

Yesterday afternoon Rocky Mountain National Park rangers were contacted via cell phone by a 31-year-old man who indicated he had fallen an unknown distance while glissading down Gabletop Mountain, which is above Loomis Lake. He reported numerous injuries.

The US Forest Service Northern Colorado helicopter used earlier in the day for the body recovery from Longs Peak was utilized for aerial reconnaissance. Using cell phone GPS coordinates, rangers were able to determine his general location below Gabletop Mountain and aerial surveillance confirmed his exact location. The photo below shows the spot where the man was initially found:

The climber was located in a remote high alpine environment in a steep cirque above Loomis Lake at approximately 11,300 feet. Loomis Lake is located southwest of Spruce Lake. Before night fall a team of four park rangers were flown to Loomis Lake. Equipment was also flown into the area. Due to the terrain and severe thunderstorms, the man was forced to bivouac overnight in the backcountry.

As rangers worked to reach the man they were able to maintain contact with him via cellphone, and asked if he could work his way down across a rock band and towards a snow field that the rangers were heading towards. Just after midnight rangers finally reached the man.

Rocky Mountain National Park spokeswoman, Kyle Patterson, said that the climber was "ambulatory but had life-threatening injuries".

This morning rangers rescued the man by lowering him 500 feet with ropes, and then assisted him an additional 700 feet down steep mountainous terrain to Loomis Lake. A paramedic on the park's rescue team provided advanced life support throughout the incident. At approximately 8:30 a.m. this morning the climber was flown to Upper Beaver Meadows Road where he was then taken by Flight for Life to St. Anthony's Hospital in Estes Park for further treatment.


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