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On Tuesday, June 1, park rangers responded to two separate incidents where individuals suffered leg injuries from falling on snow.

Early Tuesday morning, park rangers received a 911 call of an injured hiker near Loch Vale. The 32-year-old male had suffered a lower leg injury after slipping and falling on snow. A hasty team of park rangers reached the man around 8:30 a.m. and provided emergency medical care. A team of twenty Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members carried the man via a litter. A paramedic from Estes Park Health also assisted in the rescue. The rescuers dealt with unfavorable trail conditions at high elevations due to soft, melting snow. Rescuers arrived at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead around 3:40 p.m. The man was taken by ambulance to Estes Park Health.

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 At 2 p.m. a second request was received from the Loch regarding a 28- year-old female who fell from standing height at Timberline Falls. She was reported to be slowly moving down the trail. During her self-evacuation, park visitors provided care to the patient and assisted her with walking. A two-person park hasty team was dispatched and encountered the patient just below Loch Lake. They provided micro spikes and trekking poles, and further assisted the patient down the trail. They arrived near the Glacier Gorge trailhead at 7:15. The patient self-transported to Estes Park Health.

Neither patient was wearing traction devices at the time of their falls. This spring, RMNP’s Search and Rescue Team have responded to numerous incidents with leg injuries in the Loch Vale and Sky Pond area. Deep snow and fluctuating spring temperatures make for tricky trail conditions. Park visitors should expect icy, narrow, and steep trails on the way to Loch Vale. Past Loch Vale visitors still have two more miles left to Sky Pond where the snow gets deeper, the trails get icier, and the terrain is difficult to navigate. Conditions at similar elevations in the park are comparable.

Be prepared for winter like conditions at higher elevations in Rocky Mountain National Park. Planning ahead and bringing traction devices, warm winter clothes, sturdy boots and poles, headlamps, and a knowledge of how to navigate the terrain are crucial.

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