August 10, 2020
Public Information Unit, 303-441-1500
Two hikers stranded overnight near Little Pawnee Peak
Boulder County, Colo. - Yesterday, Aug. 8, we received a report of shouts for help near Little Pawnee Peak, just south of Blue Lake at approximately 6:25 p.m. in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
A couple who were hiking in the area heard the calls for help and activated their GPS device which had an SOS function. The hikers also took a video of the area where the shouts were coming from which was very helpful to rescuers because they could see the stuck hikers in the video.
Flight for Life Colorado flew two rescuers to the area and a ground team of four rescuers went in by foot to search for the stuck hikers. Other hikers in the area also attempted to locate the hikers, as they also heard the shouts for help.
Late into the night, the ground team came into voice contact with the stuck hikers. The searchers were roughly 300 feet below the stuck hikers. The hikers were stuck in 5th class terrain, which is very dangerous terrain, with lose rock and vertical cliffs. We determined that it was too dangerous to continue the rescue in the dark due to the terrain.
The hikers, from Aurora, Colorado, were hiking the Pawnee Pass Trail, got off route, and followed the ridge line from Pawnee Peak down to Little Pawnee Peak when they became stuck on the cliff.
Two Rocky Mountain Rescue Group members slept at the base of the cliff, to stay in contact with the hikers throughout the night. The rest of the rescuers were pulled from the field due to safety concerns.
During the night we worked with the Colorado Search and Rescue Association coordinators and requested that the Colorado Army National Guard respond with their hoist system to assist in the rescue of the stuck hikers. In addition, we requested search and rescue personnel from Alpine Rescue Team, and Larimer County Search and Rescue to go in by ground as a back-up plan.
Ground search and rescue members started hiking in at 6:00 a.m. At approximately 8:30 a.m. this morning, the Colorado Army National Guard were able to successfully hoist the two stuck hikers from the mountainside. The hikers sustained no serious injuries, were evaluated on-scene by AMR Ambulance and did not need to be medically transported.
On the Sunday night there were 27 search and rescue personnel and on Monday morning there were also 27 search and rescue members who responded. All the rescuers were done by noon today, after the 17 ½ hour rescue.
Search and rescue personnel assisted from Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, Alpine Rescue Team, Larimer County Search and Rescue, Flight for Life Colorado, AMR Ambulance, Indian Peak Fire Protection District, and the Colorado Army National Guard.
The associated Boulder County Sheriff’s Office case number is: 20-3511.
Carrie Haverfield, Public Information Specialist