New photos from Rocky Mountain National Park show how rangers rescued a hiker from Alaska who fell and became stranded over the weekend.
The images show where the man became stranded, on a ledge with scree and loose rock at an altitude of approximately 12,000 feet. It also shows the climbing gear a team of over 40 people used to help rescue him after an ordeal that lasted more than 24 hours.
On Saturday, Eagle River, Alaska resident Paul Lambert, 21, was hiking between Powell Peak and Thatchtop when he fell about 5 feet and slid five more down to a small cliff, RMNP spokeswoman Kyle Patterson. With an injured arm, he was unable to move up or down from the cliff above Sky Pond.
Lambert activated his personal locator beacon at 7:45 p.m. but stayed overnight on the dangerous ledge. He kept warm with extra clothing and an emergency blanket he had in his gear.
At 7:15 a.m. Sunday, rangers were able to speak to Lambert and had him call 911 from his cell phone. They used the phone's GPS to refine the location signal from the beacon and find Lambert on the east side of the Continental Divide above Sky Pond.
Patterson said a search team left from Glacier Gorge Trailhead and reached Lambert at 12:15 p.m.
There, they had to rig climbing gear to allow them to lower themselves and Lambert through a steep section. They finally began to descend around 4 p.m., and reached Sky Pond at 7:15 p.m.
Rangers had hoped to use a helicopter to evacuate Lambert from the area of the pond, but the conditions did not allow that to happen. Instead, Lambert and the rescue team had to walk the remaining five miles to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead.
When they arrived at 9:45 p.m., Lambert was taken by a family member to get medical assistance.