PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) – A member of a ski group required rescuing on Thursday, serving as a best-case-scenario reminder of the importance of sticking together when venturing out into Colorado’s backcountry.
On Thursday at roughly 4:50 p.m., a 38-year-old woman from Fruita who was separated from her ski group became too fatigued to make it to her destination in the White River National Forest.
According to a statement from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, the unnamed skier was attempting to reach the 10th Mountain Division Betty Bear Hut off of trail 505 when she became too fatigued. Once she recognized the situation, she stopped and activated her Garmin InReach, opening communication with PCSO.
She told dispatch that she still had food, but her water had frozen solid and the members of her group had traveled ahead of her toward their destination at Betty Bear Hut.
She gave them her updated coordinates, which revealed she was heading back toward the trailhead. Shortly thereafter, she became excessively fatigued and was laying down using the aid of an emergency blanket.
Eight members of Mountain Rescue Aspen were broken into two groups and deployed at roughly 6:13 p.m.
- Team 1: Comprised of 4 skiers
- Team 2: Comprised of 4 snowmobilers
- 4 additional MRA personnel were stationed at Betty Bear Hut to run the operational aspect of the rescue mission
Crews were able to locate the female skier less than three hours later at approximately 9:05 p.m. at the trailhead and with the help of Roaring For Fire and Rescue was able to assess the fatigued skier as cold, but in otherwise good condition.
Now, MRA officials are asking the backcountry-roaming public to take a lesson from this rescue that had a happy ending.
“[MRA]would like to remind backcountry users that it’s best to keep groups together, and have a communication plan when traveling in the wilderness.” the statement from the rescue agency read. “Garmin InReach and other satellite communication devices continue to prove to be invaluable in our backcountry.”
Always be sure to observe caution and preparedness when heading out into the state’s beautiful backcountry, and be prepared for emergencies to arise.