A lightning strike hit multiple people in the Devil’s Head Lookout area on Sunday, striking near a party of 8 climbers and a dog. Three were injured by the lightning and one person was hospitalized.
According to a Douglas County Search and Rescue Facebook post, the climbers were located at the Chicken Head Ranch climbing area. Seven of the 8 climbers were able to walk out. The 8th person was evacuated with a litter carry and taken to a hospital due to the serious nature of their injuries.
According to a comment from Ryan Smedra, incident commander for Jackson 105 Fire Protection District, the strike hit a rock wall near the “hikers,” knocking several to the ground. Later reports confirm that this party of 8 was climbing, not hiking, at the time of the strike.
Lightning strikes can result in skin burns, temporary paralysis, chest pain, hearing or vision loss, and death, among other things.
Devil’s Head Lookout is a popular outdoor recreation spot thanks to ample camping in the area and 2.5 mile hike that travels to the top of a functioning fire tower and back.
According to Mountain Project, Chicken Head Ranch climbing area is home to 23 listed routes that vary from 5.5 to 5.13a. It’s located at an elevation of 9,247 feet.
Parties involved with this rescue include Douglas County SAR, Jackson 105 Fire Protection District, Larkpur Fire Protection District, Castle Rock Fire Department Local 4116, US Forest Service, and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
The dangers of lightning are something to be aware of while you’re out there experiencing Colorado. Plan ahead by considering changing weather conditions. Know that afternoon storms tend to be quite common in the Centennial State, even when the skies are blue in the morning.
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