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.