RMRG had 156 calls for assistance (interactive map) in 2014, which, although not our busiest year,
continues to be above the 5-year average of 142.
Some notable trends this year include twice the usual number of
Indian Peaks calls
(20), which generally involve long approaches and evacuations. Several of these patients
were flown out by helicopter, one wheeled evacuation was over 5 miles long, and one young
patient was walked out over the divide in a cooperative effort with Grand County Search
and Rescue. Closure for family, friends and searches of Pat Wallace was possible this
year when a family backpacking on the west side of the Continental Divide found her
remains in Grand County. She had been missing since July 3, 2012.
Rescuers performing wheeled trail carry evacuation of an injured hiker below St. Vrain
Mountain, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, August 7, 2014
There were 15 mutual aid calls which is higher than average. Several notable
multi-day winter missions occurred with RMRG members assisting. A lost backcountry
skier near Vail, a missing father and son hiking near Mount Evans, and an overdue
soloist on Longs Peak all involved multiple day searches in full winter conditions.
We continue to see many rock climbers and scramblers stuck or injured in the
Eldorado Canyon and Boulder Canyon. We had 5 vertical evacuations and two mid-wall litter
loading evacuations for badly injured rock climbers. These were challenging technical
missions requiring large response and multiagency coordination. Our training paid off with
efficient, effective resolutions.
Between September and the end of the year we had many more missions than usual for
the fall/winter season. Many of these were after dark and required lead climbing
techniques on 5th class terrain. Many members burned through quite a number of headlamp
batteries! One notable mission involved a stuck climber on the rappel descent off
the Maiden. He was
~30 feet above the Crow's Nest, which is already a full pitch of 5.6 ridge climbing
from the ground. This sketchy, poorly protected approach was made more
difficult by the dark and very windy conditions. Once at the Crow's Nest, an RMRG member
had to climb to and above the stuck rappeller and pick him off. He was appreciative to
say the least as he spent several hours in his harness worrying about his rope cutting as
he swung in the wind.
Damage to trails and emergency access roads and less stable terrain resulting from the 2013 flood
continued to plague RMRG and Boulder County. Many approach and evacuation
routes have been destroyed and trees and other anchor points undermined. Unstable
conditions were found in many places and kept us on our toes. This new normal will no
doubt be an issue for several more years as conditions stabilize.
2014 Call locations interactive map Includes individual call
dates, times and summaries.
2014 Tabular Summary (PDF)
All years mission statistics, summaries & maps. (list)