In the late evening of Sunday, April 11th, AVSAR was paged out to assist Saguache County Search & Rescue for a hiker in the Willow Lake Area who was showing signs of hypothermia. AVSAR responded with two hasty team members to assist SAGSAR. The two AVSAR members were inserted by Flight For Life Colorado with additional gear to assist in the extraction of the hypothermic subject. When teams arrived to the subject, they did a medical assessment and began tactics to start to warm the subject. It was determined that the subject was in stable enough condition to hike out with teams, which rapidly warmed her up again. All teams and the hiker were safely off the mountain by dawn, April 12.
Unfortunately, this was a case where the hiker was very unprepared. The hiker did not have proper footwear or clothing to be dealing with hip deep snow and quickly lost the trail when the “trench” disappeared. Had the hiker had proper clothing, footwear and trail condition knowledge, she may have been able to self rescue.
Always research the trail conditions before setting out on a hike. Having the ten essentials in your pack, proper clothing and proper footwear SAVES LIVES.
It is always a pleasure getting to work with other agencies like Saguache County SAR and Flight for Life Colorado.