An injured hiker was recovering Tuesday afternoon after rescuers brought him to safety in Clear Creek Canyon after he fell and injured his leg and was forced to spend the night while his friend and brother went for help.
The Golden Fire Department, West Metro Fire Department and Alpine Rescue were involved in the extended mountain rescue in what they termed a "technical rescue" in the canyon, about three miles west of Tunnel 1. That is about five miles west of Golden on U.S. Highway 6.
About 40 people were involved in the rescue operation and rescue units lined the highway below, which was closed until shortly before noon.
According to a spokeswoman, the call for help came in about 1:30 a.m. from a brother of the injured hiker, who was identified as Dave Seals, 34, of Topeka, Kan. He said Seals could not continue and needed to be carried out.
"He just said he couldn't go on anymore and he said, 'You guys have to leave me here and go get help,'" said Eurich Garcia, a friend who was hiking with Seals.
Rescuers said the man was approximately 6 feet tall and weighed about 250 pounds and was injured on Monday as he and friends hiked to the top of Clear Creek Canyon.
The group was staying at a local motel and asked about hiking in the area on Monday. The hikers were told that anywhere in Clear Creek Canyon was good.
"Everything was going fine and we made it all the way to the top. He just made a wrong move and hurt his ankle," Garcia said. "It just turned from a good situation to a bad situation in, like, seconds."
Garcia and Seals' brother hiked out for help after finding their cell phone didn't work.
They left Seals with food and water and a camera so that he could use the flash to indicate his position. He also used a lighter to ignite bathroom tissue to signal his location. It took them four to five hours to climb down in the dark, using a stick as a guide ahead of them. They then hiked to an emergency call box on the highway to summon help.
Rescuers found Seals on top of a rock bluff, high up in the canyon. They lowered him down the rock to safety using a Tyrolean traverse at about 7 a.m. The maneuver involved moving the patient between two high points on a rope strung taut between them.
Seals was brought down at about 10 a.m. and gave reporters a thumbs-up as he was loaded into a waiting ambulance.
He was taken to a local hospital and was treated for dehydration.
His brother said he was doing OK Tuesday afternoon.
While the Kansas trio are admittedly amateur hikers, officials said the men were well equipped and had the necessary hiking equipment including a GPS tracking device.
It is undecided if Seals will have to pay for portions of the costs associated with the rescue.
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