Multiple hikers found themselves lost in deep snow during their descent of a 14,265-foot mountain peak in Colorado, requiring two separate rescue missions to be launched over the weekend on the same popular fourteener.
According to Summit County Rescue Group, crews responded to a report of a hiker screaming for help after getting stuck in “very soft snow” while descending Quandary Peak along the east ridge. The call came in around noon on Sunday. The hiker was eventually located by a skier who guided him safely down the mountain to McCullough Gulch Road. He was then transported by SCRG personnel on an ATV to the trailhead parking lot.
The eastern ridge hike to the summit of Quandary Peak is a 6.5-mile roundtrip class one climb, though the presence of snow can make deciphering the route difficult.
Shortly after the first call-out, search and rescue crews were paged a second time to respond to two more hikers that became lost in the snow after summiting the 14,265-foot mountain peak. Crews were able to pinpoint the location of the lost hikers using cell phone GPS coordinates, which was at about 900 feet above Blue Lakes Road. Advised to keep hiking downhill, the two women were met by a search and rescue team member and a local deputy. No injuries were reported in either incident.
At this time of the year, hikers may find themselves sinking (post-holing) through several feet of snow. SCRG also warns that while snowy trail conditions more than often lead to cold and wet feet, longer exposure may result in frostbite.
Many hikers are also not prepared for the dangers of altitude sickness, rapidly changing weather, and difficult mountain terrain when it comes to climbing fourteeners. Before you set out to bag your next peak, do plenty of research and always check the forecast before you go. Visit 14ers.com for checking trail conditions, mountain forecasts, trailhead accessibility, maps, photographs, and more. For more tips, click here.
Editor’s Note: Help fund search and rescue missions across the state of Colorado by purchasing a CORSAR card at ihelpsearch.org. This is not an insurance card. By purchasing a card, you are helping reimburse teams for costs incurred in providing help to lost and injured hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, hunters, ATV riders, skiers, snowboarders, and more.
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