A climber on Maroon Peak was rescued Tuesday after using an emergency communication device to alert authorities that he had an injured ankle and was not able to get down safely, according to a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office news release.
At about 3 p.m.Tuesday, local dispatchers received a call from the InReach call center stating that an 18-year-old male hiker was injured and stuck on a ledge of the 14,163-foot peak, which is located southwest of Aspen. The InReach message contained GPS coordinates of the hiker’s location.
About one-half hour later, the sheriff’s office and Mountain Rescue Aspen assembled a team to assist the hiker. At approximately 6:45 p.m., a High Altitude Aviation Training Site Blackhawk helicopter and two MRA team members took off from the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. Also, a ground team of five MRA team members entered the field from the Maroon Bells day-use parking lot, the release says.
Ten minutes later, the helicopter crew saw the hiker on a Maroon Peak ledge. The hiker was winched from the ledge and into the Blackhawk, then flown to the airport where an Aspen Ambulance District crew was waiting to assess his condition. All MRA team members were out of the field by 8 p.m., the release states.
In the release, authorities issued a reminder that individuals venturing into the backcountry should carry gear that’s appropriate for the type of terrain and hike. The appropriate gear can reduce the risk of getting lost or injured, and will assist lone hikers in surviving an ordeal.