Grand County Search and Rescue completed two missions over the Labor Day weekend, aiding Rocky Mountain National Park in the extradition of a hiker suffering from severe respiratory distress on Friday, and locating a lost bow hunter on Sunday.
Rocky Mountain National Park aid
Four members of the rescue team aided Rocky Mountain National Park rangers on Friday, Aug. 30, after the park received a 911 call regarding a 53-year-old male, from Kentucky, who was first reported to be in full cardiac arrest 7 miles up North Inlet Trail.
Two park rangers, consisting of a medic and EMT, were sent into the field and reached the man around 2 p.m. and discovered the man was not in cardiac arrest, but was suffering from high altitude pulmonary edema, a potentially life-threatening condition where fluid accumulates in the lungs. The condition typically occurs above 8,000 feet in elevation.
After additional personnel reached the man, he was transported by litter to a landing zone, where a Flight for Life helicopter transported him to Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland.
Rescuers then hiked out of the backcountry and reached the trailhead around 10 p.m. In total, 18 rescuers aided in the extrication of the man.
The initial 911 call was made by one of the man’s partners, who hiked out to alert park officials. His second partner stayed with him until help arrived.
Rescuers also responded to a report of a SPOT emergency beacon activation on Sunday, Sept. 1, located in the area above Monarch Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
Eleven members responded to the page, which was sent out around 1:30 p.m.
The man was reported to be a 31 year-old bow hunter, who was reported to be very physically fit and well-equipped. The man’s spouse provided Grand County Search and Rescue with valuable information concerning the man, including his boot size and clothing.
Members were sent into the field, and after searching for longer than an hour, were able to make verbal contact with the man.
The man, a retired marine, apparently had become lost while hunting, despite being well-trained in land navigation.
“He did everything right,” said Kymmie Scott, a public information officer for Search and Rescue. “After he became lost, he activated his emergency beacon and stayed put ... this just goes to show that this can happen to anyone.” As hunting season approaches, rescuers remind folks that Grand County Search and Rescue is a free service. The agency encourages people who are lost or injured to call for help sooner rather than later. “We have found that this makes the extrication process safer for everyone involved,” Scott said.
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334