S&R responds to altitude sickness callout

Michael A Rodriguez, Chaffee County Times reporter, 7/28/22 Chaffee County Search and Rescue–North responded to the aid of a hiker at 13,340 feet on the side of Mount Yale Thursday evening. The hiker was reported to be suffering from altitude sickness and was not feeling well July 21, Search and Rescue-North reported on its Facebook page. The hiker was prepared for the hike with water, food, and a flashlight and had reported that they had been drinking lots of water. CCSAR-N instructed the hiker to continue moving down the the mountain and suggested that they try to eat some food to replenish sodium in case they had accidentally flushed it from their system with drinking so much water. The search team met with the hiker and while they brought a stretcher, they did not need or require it. The hiker walked down the mountain without further assistance and the search team was out of the field by 9...

S&R gets two callouts Saturday

Michael A Rodriguez, Chaffee County Times Jun 1, 2022 Chaffee County Search and Rescue-North responded to two calls for aid Memorial Day weekend. One call came at 3:45 p.m., Saturday, May 28 from a hiker who was separated from his hiking partner and was suffering from altitude sickness while hiking Mt. Princeton, according to a post on CCSAR-N’s Facebook page. Four members each from Chaffee County Search and Rescue-North and -South took to the field and met the man at 13,500 feet. There they assessed his condition, administered oxygen and helped him hike down the mountain. The group arrived safely back at base at 9 p.m. that night. The second call came earlier that day at 9:45 a.m. from a solo climber cliffed-out below the ridge between the summit of Missouri Mountain and Elkhead Pass. He said he slid 400 feet and was unable to ascend or descend. The climber was able to send out an emergency distress call from his personal locator beacon and CCSAR-N immediately responded. Unable to send a team in via helicopter due to strong winds, CCSAR-N had a team of seven climbers hike to the site via the Missouri Gulch Trailhead. From there CCSAR-N had two of the climbers ascend to a coulior west of the stranded climber’s position and traverse over to his location. Upon reaching the stranded climber, the team was able to lower them down to a snow field and then rappelled down the cliff themselves. From there Search and Rescue-North escorted the climber out to the Missouri Gulch Trailhead. The team left the site at 7:30 p.m., the operation taking...

Snowmobile accident fatal at Cottonwood Pass

Special to The Chaffee County Times, 9-feb-22 A fatal snowmobile accident on Cottonwood Pass left one person dead Tuesday. The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office received a distress signal at 11:09 a.m., Feb. 8, from a backcountry traveler advising of a snowmobile accident and an unconscious male in the Cottonwood Pass area, Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said in a press release. Chaffee County Search and Rescue and Chaffee EMS initially responded to a location near the summit of Cottonwood Pass and contacted parties who were snowmobiling in the area. A male was unconscious after being pinned beneath his snowmobile. Several people in the area at the time of the accident attempted CPR, however the victim was pronounced dead at the scene, Spezze said. The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office responded and the investigation determined Robert E. Welland, 68 of Jefferson, was riding his snowmobile with a group of people and went out of sight from the group. When a group member went back to find Welland, he found his machine overturned and resting on top of the victim. The other rider pulled the machine off of the victim and CPR was started until EMS arrived. The victim was transported out of the area and the Chaffee County Coroner transported the victim to the coroner’s office in...

Nighttime cliff rescue: Tech teams use drones on ‘spicy’ mission to aid cliffed-out hiker

Douglas P. Marsh, Chaffee County Times reporter, Sept 15, 2021 Members of the Chaffee County SAR-North’s drone team prepare to deploy their unmanned remote aircraft in a search for a stranded hiker on the Chalk Cliffs   Chaffee County Search and Rescue-North capped off the high season with a daring night rescue at Chalk Cliffs on Sept. 7. The group was also activated the following morning to respond to a medical distress call from the Three Apostles basin west of Mount Harvard. Both rescues were successful. SAR-North representatives said that this season was a bit calmer than last. “We have had a little lower call volume so far in 2021 then we have in the previous few years,” said CCSAR-North’s president, Josh Schwenzfeier. “This is not due to a reduction in the amount of people in our backcountry areas.” Schwenzfeier attributed the reduction in calls to education programs and peer support due to increased numbers of hikers and climbers. “We haven’t been bored by any stretch,” said Beth Helmke, public information officer. “There have still been some spicy ones.” The Chalk Cliffs extraction was one such mission. According to SAR-North’s after-action report on Facebook, the call came in a little after 7 p.m. that a hiker without any gear had become cliffed out roughly 1,500 feet high and darkness was falling. “Tuesday’s mission was a great use of our CCSAR-N Drone and Technical Rescue Teams. The Chalk Cliffs is a tough spot to respond to due to the loose rock in the area,” said Schwenzfeier. “The Drone Team mobilized almost immediately after the page was sent out. They were...

AFTER MAJOR UPTICK IN SUMMER CALLS, LAKE COUNTY SAR PREPARED FOR A SECOND BUSY SEASON

Hannah Harn, Ark Valley Voice, Feb 26, 2021 (Nice Truck!) As the COVID-19 pandemic continued and spread during the summer of 2020, more and more people found themselves looking at new options for recreation; heading from the city to the mountains for outdoors fun. However, many of these new hikers found themselves unprepared for the peaks ahead of them. While the types of calls remained consistent, there was a major spike in the number of search and rescue calls for help. For Lake County Search and Rescue, (SAR) the bulk of their 2020 calls came between May and September when they’d sometimes get two or three calls a week. John Holm, President of Lake County Search and Rescue (SAR), says the spike in calls wasn’t entirely unexpected. “Everyone had cabin fever with shutdowns in the spring, but I don’t think any of us expected it to get that busy,” he explains. “Primarily, it was lack of motivation, lack of preparedness, that sort of thing. So we would hike up to them, feed them, give them some water and motivation and walk them out.” One of the major contributors Holm sees is the restriction of travel, which has led to more people recreating closer to home. “More Coloradans are going to know about fourteeners, specifically Elbert, the highest one,” he says. “They’re going to be more likely to come up with people from out of state who are just going to throw the dart at the map and say, ‘hey let’s go there.’ People from out of state who plan to come and hike Elbert are going to plan to do it...

Search & Rescue escorts hikers out of Browns Canyon

Max R. Smith, Chaffee County Times, Feb 17, 2021 As temperatures dipped rapidly Saturday evening, Chaffee County Search & Rescue-North and a Chaffee County Sheriff’s deputy were called to Browns Canyon National Monument to escort a group of hikers back to the trailhead. According to Search & Rescue’s Facebook page, rescue volunteers were paged out to Browns Canyon at 5:50 p.m. Saturday for a report of a group of hikers who had become disoriented and could not find their way back to the trailhead. A sheriff’s deputy was able to escort part of the group out, and a Search & Rescue-North hasty team met the remaining hikers who had become separated from the main group. All parties were safely out of the field by 7:45 p.m. “With single-digit temperatures and a winter storm rolling in, we are thankful for a short and successful mission,” the post...