YTD: 2022 callout summaries, lessons 

1

  • Date: Jan. 3 Time: 6 p.m.

  • Location: Spring Creek Road, NW Ouray County

  • Incident: Two women snowshoers missed a final turn to their parked car and became lost and called 911.

  • Response: Using supplied coordinates, a four-rescuer team rode their tracked machine to quickly locate the women, who enjoyed a four-minute ride to the trailhead.

  • Lesson: Preserve the battery life of your mobile phone, to report distress and provide GPS data.

2

  • Date: Jan. 29. Time: 11:36 a.m.

  • Location: South Park, Ouray Ice Park

  • Incident: A female climber was tying into a rope when a large piece of ice fell, striking her in the back and shoulder.

  • Response: A 14-person field team raised the injured climber up a cliff and transported her to an ambulance. She refused transport.

  • Lesson: Gravity works; wear a helmet and be aware of the environment.

3

  • Date: Feb. 12. Time: 10:48 a.m.

  • Location: Tower Road picnic shelter, Log Hill Mesa escarpment

  • Incident: A 32-year-old male fell about 35 feet off the escarpment, suffering head, rib and abdominal injuries.

  • Response: OMRT worked with county EMS personnel to access patient, who was packaged then raised in a litter. Injured man was taken by ambulance and CareFlight to a local hospital.

  • Lesson: The numerous jaw-dropping viewpoints in Ouray County often have steep and dangerous precipices below them.

4

  • Date: Feb. 26. Time: 12:42 p.m.

  • Location: Ouray Ice Park, Five Fingers section

  • Incident: Adult female climber is hit by microwave-sized chunk of ice, which fell 40 feet and split her helmet.

  • Response: OMRT’s Tim Pasek and Kevin Koprek utilized a horizontal litter to extricate the patient and transferred her to an ambulance at Box Cañon.

  • Lesson: Falling ice is a constant concern during winter climbing.

5

  • Date: May 19. Time: 4:08 p.m.

  • Location: Mt. Sneffels

  • Incident: A pair of climbers split up on the Lavender Col. One continued up the peak, the second returned to a vehicle. After several hours, he caught a ride down to report his missing partner, and OMRT was called.

  • Response: Nine rescuers deployed, just as a sheriff’s deputy on scene reported the overdue hiker had arrived back to his car.

  • Lesson: A Sneffels climb is best executed in the morning, when diminishing sunlight is not a pending safety factor. Hiking solo on unforgiving terrain not recommended.

6

  • Date: May 22. Time: 5:11 p.m.

  • Location: Ouray Via Ferrata, upstream route exit

  • Incident: A female adventurer completed the route but was unable to climb out at the final exit. She made multiple attempts and suffered several small falls.

  • Response: Rescuers employed a simple two-rope belay, and the woman completed the climb.

  • Lesson: Be aware of your capabilities and limitations. An expert guide is not a bad idea, either.

7

  • Date: June 3. Time: 11:16 a.m.

  • Location: Gold Mountain Via Ferrata, Jackass Flats exit

  • Incident: A guided client lost her footing on a rung and fell three feet, breaking her ankle on an angled rock. Guides were able to assist the patient to a trail at the exit.

  • Response: Two team members responded with a wheeled litter to get the patient off the mountain.

  • Lesson: In steep places, ankles are going to roll. Sear sturdy footwear.

8

  • Date: June 9. Time: 5:14 p.m.

  • Location: Box Cañon Park.

  • Incident: Remember Incident 7 above? Same story, an injured ankle on steep terrain by the falls.

  • Response: Team responds to a request by OCEMS and a straight-forward litter evacuation is performed.

  • Lesson: The ankle thing.

9

  • Date: June 12. Time: 12:03 p.m.

  • Location: Bear Creek Trail, near Grizzly Mine

  • Incident: Hiker was returning to 550 trailhead when he slipped on gravel, injured his knee and was unable to walk.

  • Response: Team of nine ascended to the fallen hiker, loaded him in a wheeled litter and rolled him to the highway.

  • Lesson: Same as callouts 7 and 8, only with a knee.

  • Patient feedback: " I want to express my gratitude for the wonderful job your group did carryng me down Bear Creek Trail. You all are in a class of your own. Extremely skilled and competent. There are not enough words in the dictionary to express how lucky I was and how grateful I am for being rescued by such a wonderful group. I will forever be grateful for rescuing me!!!

10

  • Date: June 11. Time: Noon.

  • Location: Bear Creek Trail, south of Ouray, 1/2 mile below Grizzly Bear Mine.

  • Incident: Montrose hiker slipped on loose gravel, injuring a knee. Unable to walk. Lack of cell service forced reporting party to hike down for service.

  • Response: An 8-team crew performed a standard trailside wheeled litter operation with an hour uphill hike to access the patient. Ouray temperature was a sweltering 86.

  • Lesson: Don't bank on automatic cell phone service in these rugged San Juans.

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11

  • Date: June 30. Time: 1:02 p..m.

  • Location: Mt. Sneffels, the "keyhole."

  • Incident: A woman reported her 22-year-old boyfriend suffered head and other injuries in stormy weather high on the mountain.

  • Response: With help from other hikers, the victim was able to get to the trailhead, where an OMRT vehicle and crew were waiting. He was then transported to the rescue barn and an ambulance.

  • Lesson: Sneffels is best achieved in the morning, before an afternoon squall thunders through.

12

  • Date: July 5. Time: 9:30 a.m.

  • Location: Search area between lower Camp Bird Road and Hwy. 550 to Ironton.

  • Incident: Sheriff requested help in locating a disoriented Jeeper who failed to reunite with his group at their campground. The driver had left his cell phone in Telluride.

  • Response: Four OMRT field teams were deployed and in a half hour sighted the missing party's Jeep stopped in construction on 550 near the Engineer Pass turnoff with the driver identified.

  • Lesson: .Mapping functions on one's mobile phone can be either convenient or, essential.

13

  • Date: July 13. Time: 2:15 p.m.

  • Location: Mt. Sneffels, Southwest Ridge.

  • Incident: After summiting the 14er, two hikers were descending the ridge and lost the trail, lacking confidence to continue. A 911 call ws made.

  • Response: OMRT’'s Patrick Brighton makes phone contact with stranded party, counseling on weather, phone use and staying put. Two team members were in Yankee Boy Basin, showing a state SAR official around, and five more rescuers were deployed. From the trailhead, one team hit the "tourist route" (Lavender col) for radio contact and a second hiked the SW Ridge. After a two-hour hike/rope operation, the pair was raised to safe ground. 

  • Lesson: Repeat: Sneffels in the afternoon can be perilous, and these hikers were lucky a possible storm didn't develop. And hey, it was cool to show off for the Denver hotshot.

14

  • Date: July 17 Time: 2:45 p.m.

  • Location: Twin Peaks

  • Incident: A young female mountain runner descending a scree field triggered a rock slide. A large rock slashed her left leg. She called 911, providing location coordinates courtesy of her InReach. Injured woman was advised by team to descend from exposed area due to pending lightning.

  • Response: A three-man hasty team was deployed up the steep trail, encountering the runner after 90 minutes. A second group was stood down as after some treatment, the woman was able to get down the trail, and then to the hospital by private vehicle.

  • Lesson: A satellite communications device is highly advised, especially for a solo adventurer. Again, afternoon weather in the high country can  be sketchy.

15

  • Date: Aug. 2. Time: 4:10 p.m.

  • Location: Cascade Falls drainage

  • Incident: A man hiking near the Chief Ouray Mine above Ouray became off-trail and disoriented. In phone contact with OMR Lt. Patrick Brighton and knowing his location, an attempt was made to remotely direct the man to the trail. When he went in the opposite, Brighton stopped him and told him to stay put.

  • Response: A three-man hasty team was deployed, reaching the man after an hour.

  • Lesson: Yes the views are majestic, but keep one eye on the trail.