Follow Up to Tuesday’s Incident at Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park rangers responded to an incident Tuesday afternoon below Hallett Peak above the south side of Emerald Lake. The incident took place roughly 2.5 miles from the Bear Lake Trailhead. A group of four climbers, roped together, were descending a steep snow slope when the first person lost his footing, causing the rest of the group to tumble roughly 300 to 400 feet. They were unable to stop their fall until they hit the rocks at the bottom of the couloir. The group consisted of three family members and a guide from the Colorado Mountain School. The entire group suffered injuries, however two required litter carry-out.
The 40 year old guide, Steve Johnson, from Boulder, Colorado, suffered a broken leg and the 15 year old (juvenile – name will not be released), from Greenwood Village, Colorado, suffered deep bruises to the neck. Both of the victims were carried out on litters by park rangers assisted by Larimer County Search and Rescue. They were brought to the trailhead between 8:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The 15 year old was taken by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center and released Wednesday morning. Johnson was taken by friends to Estes Park Medical Center and released later Tuesday evening.
Rangers were notified by cell phone of the fall around 2:15 p.m. The first rangers reached the two climbers at roughly 4:00 p.m. Approximately 30 park staff and Larimer County Search and Rescue personnel were involved.