Recent Incidents At Rocky Mountain National Park
On June 28, at 8:00 p.m. park staff were contacted via cell phone by a 29-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman who had become disoriented near Lake Haiyaha in the Bear Lake area. They were unsure how to get back to the Glacier Gorge or Bear Lake Trailheads. At 9:00 p.m. that night, rangers used lights in the Glacier Gorge parking area to try and assist the lost pair with general directions. At 10:00 p.m. the two people indicated they could see the lights but they were too far in the distance to try and determine what direction they should go.
Rangers advised them to stay where they were, suggested techniques to stay warm throughout the night, and indicated at 6:00 a.m. the next morning rangers would begin to head up the trail to assist them. Temperatures were relatively warm in their location, in the mid-40s. Rangers reached the two visitors at 7:12 a.m. the next morning, June 29. The two had begun hiking down and were one-half mile from the trailhead when contacted by rangers.
At approximately 7:00 p.m. on the night of, June 28, park rangers were notified of an 18-year-old female who had an injured ankle near Ouzel Falls in the Wild Basin area of the park. Rangers were on scene with the patient at 9:00 p.m. she was evacuated by horse and reached the Wild Basin Trailhead at 10:00 p.m. This trail section is free of snow.
On Monday night, June 27, at 7:00 p.m. park rangers were notified that a 56-year-old man had contacted a family member by cell phone that he was disoriented at the base of Flattop Mountain in the Bear Lake area. Rangers were able to contact the man and advised him to continue moving east. His cell phone battery then ran out. At 9:00 am. Tuesday morning, rangers were notified by cell phone by other park visitors that they were with the man along the Flattop Trail. At 10:23 a.m. rangers contacted the man and the visitors who assisted him.
Many visitors are not expecting deep snow trail conditions on higher elevation trails in the park. Due to snow-covered trails, good route-finding skills are important and following tracks in the snow may lead a hiker to go off route and become disoriented. It can take longer to hike in these conditions and many visitors are not prepared to stay out after dark or overnight. Visitors should come prepared with these essentials items: Water, high-energy food, layers of insulating, windproof clothing, sturdy footwear and extra socks, storm gear for rain and snow,
hats and gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen, first aid kit, topographic map,
flashlight or headlamp, waterproof matches, pocket knife and whistle.
Cell phones are helpful but are unreliable.
There are numerous trails in the park that are free of snow. Visitors are encouraged to stop at a park visitor center for current trail conditions. Many trail conditions are posted on the park website, www.nps.gov/romo follow the Quicklink to Trail Conditions Reports. For park information please call (970) 586-1206.