Exhausted Backcountry Skier Called for Rescue After Faster Friends Left Her Behind

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Betty bear, backcountry hut,
Betty Bear 10th Mountain Division Hut.

At approximately 4:50 pm on Thursday, December 29th, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputies learned a 38-year-old female from Fruita, CO, became too exhausted to make it to the 10th Mountain Division Hut, Betty Bear, off of trail 505, in the White River National Forest.

The skier activated the SOS feature on her Garmin InReach. She communicated with Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputies via text message. The female skier told Deputies that her water had frozen, but she had food. The female skier said her friends were faster and traveled ahead. She said her friends were already at the Betty Bear Hut. The female skier could not make it to the hut because she was too exhausted.

The female skier sent Deputies her new coordinates, and it showed that she was heading back to the trailhead. Shortly after that, Deputies received a message that a person from her group had come from the hut to look for her. She was too tired to keep going and lay in an emergency blanket.

At approximately 6:13 pm, Mountain Rescue Aspen (MRA) deployed eight members to rescue the female. The MRA members were split into two teams. Team 1 was composed of four skiers, and Team 2 was composed of four snowmobiles. Four more members remained at the MRA cabin for the operational side of the rescue.

At approximately 9:05 pm, MRA teams arrived at the trailhead with the female skier. The MRA teams were met by Roaring Fork Fire and Rescue (RFFR) ambulance and paramedics, who were able to assess the female skier’s condition. The female skier was cold but in otherwise good condition.

The Pitkin County Sheriff, Joe DiSalvo, would like to extend his gratitude to all organizations (MRA and RFFR) involved in getting the skier back to safety. Mountain Rescue Aspen would like to remind backcountry users that it’s best to keep groups together and have a communication plan when traveling in the wilderness. Garmin InReach and other satellite communication devices continue to prove to be invaluable in our backcountry.

Betty Bear hut.

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5 thoughts on “Exhausted Backcountry Skier Called for Rescue After Faster Friends Left Her Behind

  1. Don’t you know ?? Don’t you know by now ? Don’t you know how to do this yet ?
    In a typical group of hut trekkers, there are usually a few heroes, some steady troopers, some laggards, someone whose skins fall off and won’t stick, someone who carries too much stuff – wine bottles ? a huge sleeping bag ? and someone who gets altitude sickness. If the leader has experience – some do, many do NOT — He/She will hand out three walkie talkies and appoint the heroes to be trail breakers – they will take turns – and also appoint a tail-end sweeper, whose job is to fix problems, pick up lost gear, and make sure everyone arrives. IF there are walkie talkie radios ??? then the parts can communicate. IF someone comes down with altitude sickness – or The Flu – they can turn back ?? OR – try this – JUST LEAVE THE PACK in the trail… Get the sick person up to the hut – packless – then send down a couple of heroes by headlamp to retrieve the pack. It will arrive eventually, like lost airplane luggage.
    But to leave one sick hurting tired person alone on a trail ? That was heresy ! FIRE that leader !

  2. They all need to be fined! Too many people thinking they can catch a ride,buy some gear and gadgets so they can post something. Completely unnecessarily using precious resources. Next they’ll be calling to get a latte delivered!

  3. It’s great. Gear is so good. Money grows on trees. Everybody gets to live in mountain paradise. Until their dumb friend from Denver comes up and ruins it for all…lol

  4. If youre 38 and “too exhausted”, take your skins off and ski back to the trailhead. Know your body enough to know when to turn around before you just give up on life. These GPS panic buttons are the worst thing invented for my entitled and clueless generation.

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