Independence Pass (Photo) Credit OutThere Colorado file photo

Independence Pass

Once known as Hunter Pass, Independence pass is a high-altitude mountain pass that reaches an elevation of 12,095 feet. It’s also part of the Continental Divide and is the fourth-highest paved road in the state.

Two women hiking near Independence Pass in Colorado Saturday evening were rescued from difficult terrain during hazardous weather they reportedly were unprepared for, Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said.

At about 4:45 p.m. Saturday, the emergency center received an "SOS activation" from the women in the are of Lost Man Lake, claiming they were stranded in hazardous weather in difficult terrain.

Deputies determined the women were not prepared for the conditions they were hiking in, causing deputies to request assistance from Mountain Rescue Aspen.

The hikers were unable to navigate the terrain during weather conditions, as well as the high level of water through the creek this time of year.

Volunteer rescuers from Mountain Rescue Aspen brought in gear, clothing, food, and water for the women.

Assisted by rescuers, the women were able to hike to Lower Lost Man. Everyone made it out of the field by 2 a.m., the Sheriff's Office said.

More than 20 members of Mountain Rescue Aspen assisted the hikers. Three other Mountain Rescue Aspen members responded to the C.B. Cameron Rescue Center in order to help coordinate the rescue efforts.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen remind hikers to plan their trips accordingly with the seasons and changing conditions. Always be prepared for the unexpected, remember the importance of dressing appropriately for the weather and terrain, and turn around if you are not prepared for the conditions.

Temperatures and weather conditions in Colorado can change quickly.

The Lost Man Trail travels through the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness area in the White River National Forest. The Lost Man Trail is a moderately-trafficked, difficult hiking trail from Highway 82 (Independence Pass) east of Aspen.

Backcountry rescues are on the rise in Colorado, with call-outs for help doubling over the last two years. By purchasing a CORSAR card or by making a donation, you can help reimburse search and rescue teams for costs, such as fuel and equipment, that are incurred while providing help to lost and injured hikers, mountain bikers, skiers, hunters, and more. Read more here on how you can help fund Search and Rescue efforts in Colorado.

Leslie James is all about Colorado when it comes to writing features, sharing adventures, and creating colorful galleries. She loves camping, hiking, mountain biking and snowboarding. Leslie joined OutThere Colorado in November 2020.


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