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Rescue At Ptarmigan Glacier In Rocky Mountain National Park

Photo courtesy RMNP

Photo courtesy RMNP

Sterling Jordan, a fifty-seven year old male from Loveland was discovered at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday morning at the base of Ptarmigan Glacier near Notchtop Couloir in Rocky Mountain National Park by two backcountry skiers. The men were able to contact park dispatch via cell phone at approximately 11:45 a.m. Jordan had taken a tumbling fall of approximately 50 feet, Monday, May 11, at 11:00 a.m. while mountaineering in the area. It is believed that high winds may have caused Sterling to fall. The victim had been lying at the base of Ptarmigan Glacier for twenty-four hours when the two good samaritans discovered him.

The location of the victim was approximately five miles from the Bear Lake Trailhead. A hasty team of two rangers reached the victim at 3:30 p.m. They found him conscious with numerous injuries. Additional rangers also responded to the scene. The victim was located at 11,000 feet, above treeline, and winds at the time, were reported at 75 miles per hour. Due to the conditions and location, a helicopter evacuation was not possible, therefore, a litter carry out was necessary. The victim was alone and he had not been reported as overdue. The two men who were skiing in the area saw the victim from a distance but initially assumed he was part of the rocky terrain until they got nearer.

The two men moved the victim from the avalanche prone terrain, and rendered aid to the victim by giving him warm clothing, fluids and food. They continued to stay with the victim and likely saved his life.

Thirteen park staff were involved in the rescue. Due to the terrain and snow/slush conditions it took hours to bring the victim to the trailhead. Park rangers began bringing the patient out with a wheeled litter at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening. Rangers reached the Bear Lake Trailhead at 10:30 p.m. and the patient was taken by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center and he was later transferred to the Medical Center of the Rockies.

A press conference is expected to be held in Rocky Mountain National Park on Friday where the two skiers and park rangers will be on hand to talk about this rescue.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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