In two separate incidents, local authorities on Saturday were called on to assist hikers who were having trouble on local trails.
At 1:44 p.m., local emergency dispatchers received a call of an injured female hiker in the Maroon Bells Wilderness Area. The caller said the adult hiker had fallen on the trail to Crater Lake, about one-half mile from Maroon Lake, and was suffering an injured ankle. The hiker could not walk any farther, according to the caller.
A report from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office states that deputies immediately responded and contacted the injured hiker on the Crater Lake Trail. Personnel from the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department also responded, immobilized the injured ankle and carried the woman down the trail using a “Stokes litter,” a type of basket used in search-and-rescue operations in which a disabled person can be safely strapped.
The woman was then transferred to a waiting ambulance, the report says. No further information was available on Sunday.
A second sheriff’s office report states that a man and a woman in their 60s had to be escorted out of the backcountry Saturday evening after making a wrong turn on a short hike “and found themselves in the dark on the wrong trail.”
At around 5:10 p.m., an Aspen Ambulance District paramedic received a report of two hikers who were overdue at the Maroon Bells trailhead. The sheriff’s office was notified, and learned that the hikers were last seen one mile up the East Maroon Trail at around 1:45 p.m. The hikers were attempting to hike to Maroon Lake from the East Maroon Portal, the report says.
Members of Mountain Rescue Aspen were mobilized and sent search teams into the field. One of the teams located both hikers at around 7 p.m. on the East Maroon Trail beyond the junction with the Maroon Creek Trail. Emergency responders provided the hikers with warm clothing and assisted them back down to the East Maroon Portal, the report states.
“The hikers had prepared for a short hike, but they were unfamiliar with the trail,” the report says. “Fortunately, they had provided their whereabouts and their plan to someone ahead of time, which led to the report that they were overdue.”
In relation to Saturday’s first incident, the sheriff’s office issued a community reminder that U.S. Forest Service trails in Aspen-area mountains “are difficult to navigate due to the current trail conditions, which include ice, snow and mud. Caution is advised when hiking this time of year.”
With regard to the second incident, the sheriff’s office advised that those heading into the backcountry should take the time to know the intended routes before venturing out — “and bring a map.”