Skilled trail runner slips off ridgeline at 12,500 feet, rescued by Blackhawk

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — An experienced trail runner fell off a ridgeline in Summit County on Sunday and was rescued a few hours later by a Blackhawk.

At 11:32 a.m. Sunday, Summit County Rescue Group (SCRG), an all-volunteer search and rescue nonprofit, received a report of an injured 52-year-old runner between Peak 2 and Peak 3 in Frisco. The man had fallen about 60 feet down the east side of the ridgeline, which stands at about 12,500 feet in elevation, according to a SCRG press release.

Authorities believed the man had considerable, but not life-threatening, injuries.

SCRG staged in the County Commons in Frisco before transporting teams to the end of Miner’s Creek Road via ATV. From there, the rescuers started to hike to the man, who was a significant distance from any trail.

Flight for Life was requested to locate the man and search for a possible landing zone for a faster pick-up, but the closest location was a considerable distance away, according to the release.

The mission coordinator requested a helicopter from the High-Altitude Air National Guard Aviation Training Site in Eagle County. A Blackhawk was available.

By 2:42 p.m., the helicopter was on scene above the runner, who was hoisted into the aircraft. SCRG rescuers were about 100 yards from the patient when the helicopter arrived. The team continued to ascent to meet with the runner’s partner, who was descending off the ridgeline.

The injured runner was taken to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco for treatment, according to the release.

The mission was complete at 7:07 p.m.

The man was treated and released Sunday. While he was a skilled long-distance trail runner and climber, and had international experience in both sports, accidents can and do happen, according to the release. Authorities believed he grabbed a rock that gave way, causing him to lose his balance.

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