Nighttime Maroon Bells Rescue Mission Saves Hikers

Blackhawk helicopter called in to aid operation

Nov 5, 2014
Outside Magazine
maroon bells hiker rescue aspen colorado news outside

Maroon Bells is a notoriously dangerous area; a climber died there in October.    Zach Dischner/Flickr

Nineteen Mountain Rescue Aspen members rescued three college students from Colorado’s Maroon Bells on Monday. The hikers, all men studying at Colorado School of Mines, set off a personal locating beacon around 4 p.m. on Sunday. Rescuers found them stranded 100 feet below the North Maroon Peak Trail.

Deputy Jesse Steindler told the Aspen Times that the MRA and local sheriff’s office were trying to “err on the side of caution” in calling out such a large crew, which included a Blackhawk helicopter operated by the Army National Guard.

The area around North Maroon Peak is notoriously dangerous. Just last month, rescuers there retrieved the body of 37-year-old climber Jarod Wetherell after he had been reported missing.

Sporadic snow and rain storms as well as avalanches made this week’s nighttime rescue hazardous. Five MRA field members were able to rappel down to the hikers from the helicopter, and then raise them back up to the trail to hike out.

About 10 hours after the beacon went off, everyone was safely off the mountain. No injuries were reported.

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