PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. — Rescue teams overcame heavy snow, avalanches, steep terrain and darkness to rescue three students from Colorado School of Mines who got stranded on the northeast ridge of North Maroon on Sunday.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said in a release that it was alerted by a Personal Location Beacon about 4:30 p.m. showing the climbers were at about 11,500 feet, about 100 feet below the standard climbing route.
With the weather deteriorating, darkness setting in and believing there could have been a fall or injury to one of the students, the sheriff’s office launched a rescue crew.
High Altitude Aviation Training Site launched Black Hawk helicopters and moved a group of rescuers from Mountain Rescue Aspen above the stranded students, who were not injured and stranded above a cliff. Five rescuers then repelled down to the climbers and lift them up to the trail.
The rescuers then were able to lead the students — Dallas Hall, 20, Michael Bortnowski, 20, and Arthur Whitehead, 19 — down the mountain by the standard climbing trail.
“The operation was made more difficult and hazardous by numerous natural avalanches in the area,” the sheriff’s office said in a release. “During the mission over 6 inches of new snow fell.”
The rescue ended at 1:45 a.m. Monday. In all, 19 members from Mountain Rescue Aspen were involved in the mission.