Autumn in the Mountains Photo Credit: Adam-Springer (iStock).

File photo. Photo Credit: Adam-Springer (iStock).

The Mountain Rescue Aspen (MRA) search and rescue team were able to locate and save a 55-year-old hiker who had fallen approximately 300 feet on the Rocky Fork Trail near Aspen on Friday, according to a news release. 

The Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center received a call Friday evening from the International Emergency Response Coordination Center who received a spot activation message from a Garmin InReach device. 

A Garmin InReach is a two-way satellite communicator and GPS tracking device that that can still send messages and track location even in areas where there is no cellphone reception. 

The message detailed the hiker's condition and informed crews that he was about four miles from the trailhead, the release said. 

MRA teams were notified just before 7 PM, and reached the trailhead at 8:27 PM. They located the injured hiker at around 9 PM, and assessed that he had sustained several non-life threatening injuries. 

MRA team members safely transported the man to the bottom of the trailhead where they were met by Roaring Fork Fire and Ambulance crews. The hiker was then taken by ambulance to Valley View Hospital.

The release did not clarify the cause of the fall. 

"The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen would like to remind all visitors and hikers to be aware of their skills, abilities, and physical condition," the release read. 

With the risk of dangerous temperatures overnight in addition to the hiker's injuries, the Garmin InReach device very well may have saved his life. Carrying any kind of GPS tracking device can be helpful if you lose the trail, or find yourself in a dangerous situation like this one. It's also important to always let someone know where you're headed and when you'll be back.

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(2) comments


Truly a lucky son of a gun! Hiking solo after sunset is far more dangerous than the more common morning hiking because many times SAR will NOT come out at night. What if this guy had to wait until morning for SAR. Would he have survived a night out there?? Better think about that next time you're out for an adventure in the evening. So glad this turned out well. Many thanks to SAR - they are lifesavers!!


What kind of a spaz was he? I've hiked and climbed for decades never fell once.

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