Rescue On Old Man Mountain
Updated May, 30, 2009
Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services, Larimer County Search and Rescue, Estes Park Fire Department and Rocky Mountain National Park responded to a report of a hiker who had become wedged in a crevice in the Old Man Mountain area east of Estes Park off Highway 34.
At approximately 9:00 p.m. on April 25, a student in her early twenties from Boulder who was hiking with friends fell into a crevice and became lodged. At 12:45 a.m. the above units were dispatched to the area.
The Estes Park Volunteer Fire Department (EPVFD) responded to the report of the 21 year old female trapped in a rock crevice on Old Man Mountain. Once on scene, Estes Park Police and Larimer County Sheriff’s officers reported they had been unable to gain access to the victim, who had been reportedly trapped since 11:30 p.m. The EPVFD requested assistance from the Rocky Mountain National Park and Larimer County Emergency Services high angle rescue teams, as well as the Estes Park Ambulance Service.
Firefighters located the victim with the assistance of other hikers who were with the victim at the time of the accident and determined she would require a technical rescue. Before technical rescue teams arrived, EPVFD worked with paramedics to warm the victim and evaluate her medical condition. The weather at the time was below 40 degrees with light snow falling.
Technical rescue teams arrived on scene between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. and began organizing the logistics of removing the victim from the rocks. The victim had climbed into the crevice and became stuck. No rocks fell or moved to entrap her. Due to the location of the victim, described as a crevice within a cave, crews had to create a system of ropes to extricate her. This process took until approximately 7:00 a.m.
The victim was removed and carried to the ambulance by 8:40 a.m. and was transported to the Estes Park Medical Center for evaluation. A male victim was evaluated for cold exposure and released at the scene. The male victim was prevented from leaving the cave due to the fact the female victim was stuck between him and the exit. He was removed from the cave via an alternate access by a vertical high angle rescue at 5:30 a.m.
This incident re-enforces the danger of hiking, caving, and climbing in the area, especially at night. In the victim’s favor, she was hiking with others who were able to call for help.
Approximately 28 people assisted with a difficult rescue through the top of the crevice. Rescuers at the scene believe she had scrapes and bruises. She was transported to Estes Park Medical Center to be checked for exposure and any other possible injuries.