Barbara Lawlor, Boulder County. In the past couple of weeks, the mountains have been inundated with visitors who seek cooler air and wildflower-studded trails. It is what keeps our tourism business thriving.
These visitors also keep our firefighters and search and rescue teams busy as the calls come in daily: missing hikers, lost hikers, and injured hikes. Some of the calls are easy, doable by ambulance, some need technical equipment and experienced emergency teams.
On June 29, 2016, the Nederland Fire Protection District and the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group received a report of an injured hiker above the Caribou Trailhead, a steep, rocky trail known for its wildflower meadows.
The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office as well as the American Medical Response ambulance were called in to help with the rescue. They were told that an 86-year-old female, Sandy Carpenter, was heading back down to the trailhead with eight other members of their hiking group when she slipped and fell, injuring her wrist and pelvis and unable to walk the rest of the way down.
Carpenter was about a mile and a half from the parking lot, which became a staging area for the rescuers who gathered to discuss the best access to the patient. Because of the rugged nature of the trail, the ambulance could not drive to the patient so the firefighters and RMR volunteers brought the patient to the ambulance in a technical wheeled evacuation. The patient was then transported to the hospital for treatment.