At 10:30 p.m. on Monday night, April 24, a man called for assistance near Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park via a very poor cell phone connection. He and his brother had become lost due to snow packed trails and darkness. Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members reached the pair at 1:00 a.m. It was snowing, the men were cold and wet and were unprepared to spend the night. This incident could have ended differently, if the two out of state visitors had not been fortunate to have cell phone coverage and a charged battery.
This incident serves as an important reminder that although it may be spring in other parts of the country and at lower elevations in Colorado, above 9,000 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park there is still considerable snow on trails and cold temperatures. Lakes are beginning to thaw and visitors may encounter weakened snow bridges over streams and bridges. The upcoming forecast calls for snow and freezing temperatures.
Carry the essentials when recreating in the wilderness in Rocky Mountain National Park no matter what season. These essentials include layers of clothing including storm gear, hat, gloves, lots of water and high-energy food, sturdy footwear and extra socks, topographic map and compass/GPS, flashlight or headlamp, waterproof matches, pocket knife, whistle, sunglasses with UV protection and sunscreen. Tell a friend where you are going and when you expect to be back. Cell phone coverage in Rocky Mountain National Park is limited and often batteries die in cold temperatures.
The park also reminds visitors to research trail conditions and the current weather forecast before you go into the backcountry.