Adventure

15 Injured in Mount Bierstadt Lightning Strike

Popular trail hit by early, severe storm

Denver and the Colorado Front Range have been experiencing severe thunderstorms in the past week. (Photo: Chad K/Flickr)
Denver and the Colorado Front Range have been experiencing severe thunderstorms in the past week.

Fifteen people were injured, and one dog was killed, after a lightning strike on 14,065-foot Mount Bierstadt, a popular 14er that lies 45 miles southwest of Denver, Colorado. The strike occurred at 11:30 a.m., which is early in the day for cloud-to-ground lightning strikes, but not unheard of. According to the Denver Post, as many as 100 people were on the three-mile trail that ascends 2,400 feet from the parking lot on Guanella Pass. The mountain is extremely popular in the summer because of its short, walking approach and its proximity to Denver. 

As a general rule of thumb, hikers try to be off the summits of the rockies by noon. But Denver and the Colorado Front Range have been experiencing severe thunderstorms for the last four days that have produced serious flooding. In July 2010, a group of 17 people were struck by lightning on Wyoming’s Grand Teton. That storm also struck early, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

By 5:30 p.m., all of the injured had been evacuated or walked back to their cars. 

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
Filed To: News
Lead Photo: Chad K/Flickr
More Adventure