Incident Near Mills Glacier In Rocky Mountain National Park
At 2:23 p.m. on Saturday, July 17, park rangers were notified of an incident on Stettner’s Ledges near Mills Glacier on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. William Esposito, 27, from Boulder, Colorado, was on a technical climb and took a 20 foot lead fall. He seriously injured both ankles. Two park rangers were on a backcountry patrol near the summit of Longs Peak. They reached the man at 4:53 p.m.
Rangers picked up search and rescue gear nearby at the Chasm Shelter. Esposito’s climbing partner had safely lowered him an additional three pitches making it easier for rangers to assist him. Although Esposito could not put weight on his feet he and his climbing partner also tried to move as far down on the snowfield as possible. The two rangers, assisted by eight other climbers who were in the area, carried gear and the litter with Esposito, to a helicopter landing zone near Chasm Lake (see photo). Flight for Life, from St. Anthony’s Hospital, flew Esposito to Boulder Community Hospital at 6:37 p.m.
Park rangers were grateful for the assistance of the climbers in the area. Although all of the climbers happened to be from Boulder, they were all in different groups. The rescue efforts made for a long day for the climbers as they had all left the Longs Peak Trailhead before dawn. Their assistance to park rangers in carrying Esposito to the landing zone enabled the helicopter to be able to fly during daylight. Because of their assistance, additional park staff did not have to hike to the area; allowing them to focus on other operations on a busy Saturday in July at Rocky Mountain National Park.
Taken by Andy Anderson, Rocky Mountain National Park