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YTD: 2022 callout summaries, lessons 


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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!!!


  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 16

  • Date: Aug. 11. Time: 3: 36 p.m.

  • Location: Trail off Vista Point, Owl Creek Pass

  • Incident: A man was thrown off his ATV after it struck a rock on a trail below Vista Point. His unhelmeted head hit a rock, and the rider was unconscious for a bit.

  • Response: Team was paged and responders met at the RAT Trails on County Road 10. Before deployment, team was stood down, as the patient was transported to the trailhead and awaiting EMS ambulance.

  • Lesson: The trail has been the site of similar accidents in the past, and is considered hazardous.

  • 17

  • Date: Aug. 20. Time: 4:52 p.m.

  • Location: Sutton Mine Trailhead.

  • Incident: A woman hiker broke her foot several hundred yards up the trail. Another hiker managed to help her most of the way down the trail, but needed help for the 240-pound victim for the final stretch to the ambulance.

  • Response: Standard wheeled litter operation performed over a half hour.

  • Lesson: Same ol' song — pay attention to footwear and foot placement..


  • Date: Sept. 4. Time: 7:52 p.m.

  • Location: Blue Lakes/Mt. Sneffels.

  • Incident: Overdue Sneffels hikers: two campers at Blue Lakes reported that three hikers hadn't returned from an assault of the 14er that began at 5:30 a.m.

  • Response: A sheriff's deputy compiled information on the hikers and routes they planned on taking. Team began assembling at the barn and Captain Ruth Stewart called the reporting party, who said one hiker (who had taken the more common Lavender Col route) had returned to camp, and the two SW Ridge hikers had reached Blue Lakes Pass and had been reached by phone. OMRT stood down.

  • Lesson: Hikers were good on early start, but communication could have been better.


  • Date: Sept. 5. Time: 1:37 p.m.

  • Location: Imogene Basin above Chicago Tunnel.

  • Incident: Side-by-side rollover. Dispatcher received two 911 calls where in background, callers were heard screaming "oh God, oh God!" The vehicle had been driven up a very rocky 4X4 road to a dead end. The driver attempted to turn around, but dropped over the road edge. He as able to get his passenger wife to jump out of the side-by-side. The driver, however, rode the cart-wheeling vehicle some 500 feet down a 45-degree slope. He did not survive.

  • Response: OCEMS was first on scene and treated the injured wife. OMRT responded, taking photos for the coroner, packaging the deceased and transporting it to the Camp Bird Mine.

  • Lesson: Know the terrain, and don't ever underestimate these intimidating mountains.


  • Date: Sept. 9. Time: 2:48 p.m.

  • Location: Courthouse Trail from Cow Creek.

  • Incident: A (deaf) hunter used his SOS device to complain he was dizzy and not sure he could get back to his truck.

  • Response: A group of Ridgway team members rendezvoused at the RAT Trails on CR10. Some confusion over the hunter's location ensued, and while it was being sorted out, another hiker came across the hunter, and help him on an hour's hike to the trailhead, where a Ridgway ambulance had arrived via a rough road. After being checked out hunter refused medical transport.

  • Lesson: Good information during any emergency greatly assists timely response..


  • Date: Sept. 11. Time: 4:17 p.m.

  • Location: Sneffels High-Line Trail.

  • Incident: OMRT is paged for a couple who reported they nearly fell from the trail and need help getting down.

  • Response: It takes the team five minutes to confirm the party is on the High-Line, which is on the Telluride side of Sneffels. Call transferred to San Miguel County SAR.

  • Lesson: Geography!

  • 22

  • Date: Sept. 12. Time: 12:40 p.m.

  • Location: County Road 361, Drinking Cup.

  • Incident: A tour Jeep careens on cliff, resulting in the deaths of the driver (a rescue team member) and two clients.

  • Response: Ambulance and Ouray Fire personnel were first on the scene and accessed the wreckage and confirmed the tragic fatalities. OMRT tasked with extricating the bodies from near Canyon Creek to CR361. Two rescuers are lowered to execute the job.

  • Lesson: None to be learned, and it will likely never be learned what happened to cause a respected and experienced driver to have his vehicle go over the edge. 


  • Date: Sept. 14. Time: 4:24 p..m.

  • Location: Upper Camp Bird Road.

  • Incident: Party reports a rolled-over Jeep at the bottom of a gully. OMRT paged out, and as members assembled at barn for deployment, the party scrambled down to the wreck, finding it to be an old wreck wrapped in caution tape. Team is stood down.

  • Lesson: Prior call, super serious. This one: a nothing burger.


  • Date: Sept. 18. Time: 1:23 p.m.

  • Location: Sneffles overlook on Blaine Basin/Wilson Pass trail east of Blue Lakes trailhead.

  • Incident: Woman hiker, 60, with a broken ankle at elevation 10,975 feet.

  • Response: Field team of eight rescuers were deployed in two vehicles to the Blue Lakes trailhead. A new second callout caused three members to return to Ouray. Patient was located 4.8 miles from trailhead. Original plan was to take patient east on Dallas Trail, but limited vehicle access led to a helicopter to be requested. One had already in service for the second callout just northwest of Ouray. Helicopter crew agreed to second pickup, and arrived at the Sneffels Overlook for a sketchy but successful landing and patient pickup.

  • Lesson: High, remote locations can add a high degree of difficultly to a mission. This one was compounded by difficult communications and a simultaneous incident.


  • Date: Sept. 18. Time: 2:41 p.m.

  • Location: Silvershield Trail, elevation 9,006’.

  • Incident: Woman hiker, 52, slipped on loose gravel and rolled an ankle.

  • Response: Team turns around three members on day’s earlier call and recruits two sheriff deputies and a medic to bolster personnel. Due to the steep trail, helicopter help is requested and secured. A marginal landing zone is found about a half mile up the trail. The bird arrive and drops off two OM rescuers and a crew member, who hike down the patient. A makeshift wheeled litter is fashioned and the patient was hauled to the waiting helicopter and flown to Ouray. 

  • Lesson: The 2022 ankle tally just keeps climbing, and helicopter crews are the team’s best friends.

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