DENVER (KDVR) — A Colorado rescue team is being honored with an international award, after a daring rescue on the Crestone Needle.
It happened last September, after two climbers were injured near the top of the 14,200-foot Crestone Needle.
The Colorado Hoist Rescue Team, comprised of Colorado Army National Guard aircrew and civilians from the Alpine Rescue Team, used a helicopter and hoist system to rescue those climbers.
“We heard there were two climbers, one was injured and had fallen about 30 feet with a leg injury,” says pilot Christopher Moskoff. “We were hovering about 175 feet above the subjects, onto about a dining room sized ledge.”
Video shows Moskoff and fellow pilot Greg White placing Rescue Technician Dale Atkins down onto the narrow ledge, where he was able to hoist the climber to safety.
Saturday, the group was honored with the DUSTOFF Association’s “Rescue of the Year” award in Columbus, Georgia. The award is typically given to military rescues in combat situations.
“It’s a huge honor, and it’s not an award that’s typically given to civilians,” says Rescue Technician Michael Griffin.
Each year, the Colorado Hoist Rescue Team provides roughly 25 mountain rescues across the state.
Typically, those rescues involve climbers in places where ground rescues would be too time-consuming or dangerous.
By using military-grade equipment, and National Guard pilots, they’re able to reach places standard medical helicopter crews would not be able to.