Dehydrated, hungry backpacker rescued near Maroon Bells

ASPEN, Colo. - A backpacker from Missouri was rescued Wednesday after he ran out of food and water a day earlier and passed out.

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said it was notified just before noon of a hiker that needed help just past Crater Lake, near the Maroon Bells. The hiker's brother had hiked out and contacted a U.S. Forest Service volunteer,  telling the volunteer that his brother had passed out after descending Buckskin Pass, which is just south and west of Crater Lake.

Members of Mountain Rescue Aspen were notified and two teams were quickly assembled. 

At about 12:30 p.m., a member of Mountain Rescue Aspen happened to be hiking in the Crater Lake area found the patient. The MRA member had his two-way radio with him and he was able to appraise the rest of the MRA members on the patient's medical status.

The first team MRA team reached the patient just before 1 p.m., and medically assessed him.  They gave him food and water as well as oxygen.

Members of MRA and the patient started the hike out and were with the waiting ambulance down at the main parking lot 1:30 p.m.

It was determined that the patient, a 37-year-old from Missouri, had run out of food and water while hiking what is known as The Four Pass Loop, and had been without food or water for about a day and was badly dehydrated as well as exhausted.

The 26-mile Four Pass Loop consists of starting at the Maroon Bells main parking lot, hiking over West Maroon Pass, then Frigid Air Pass, on to Trailrider Pass and then over Buckskin Pass and back into the Maroon Creek drainage back to the parking lot. All of the passes are higher than 12,000 feet.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind everyone who ventures out into the backcountry to be well prepared with plenty of food and water.

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