Rangers Rescue Same Hiker Twice In One Month

Dean Smith Rescued Hiking Longs Peak, Mount Lady Washington

Rangers at Rocky Mountain National Park rescued the same man on the Longs Peak Trail twice in July.

Dean Smith, 68, injured his leg on July 8 while climbing Mount Lady Washington, park officials said.

Rangers on a backcountry patrol said they came across Smith near the Battle Mountain Junction on the Longs Peak trail at 5:15 p.m.

Rangers used horses to get Smith back to the trailhead.

Two weeks later to the day, Smith called rangers because he had fallen on Longs Peak.

Smith told rangers he had fallen 30 feet near the top of Lamb’s Slide. Smith eventually stopped his fall with an ice ax, but he injured his arm, park officials said.

Rangers reached Smith four hours later. Two rangers rappelled down the mountain, lowering Smith. Additional rangers helped get Smith through the challenging terrain. The group reached the Chasm Lake Patrol Cabin after dark and spent the night.

The next day, Smith was taken by horseback to the Longs Peak Trailhead, where he was picked up by a family member, park officials said.

Ten park rangers assisted with the rescue operation, which took nearly 23 hours.

"We do not charge for rescues in Rocky Mountain National Park," said park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson. "Our rangers are in the profession to assist people in need of help."

Patterson did say the park might consider charging someone if the situation warranted it.

"If there was an egregious situation, we might consider charges," Patterson said. "We encourage people to use good judgment and not travel alone."

Longs Peak is the only 14er in Rocky Mountain National Park. Mount Lady Washington is a 13er next to Longs Peak. Lamb's Slide is named for a guide who slid down the snow chute in 1871.

In Colorado, residents and visitors can buy a Colorado Outdoor Search and Rescue card. For $3 a year, the card reimburses search and rescue teams for costs incurred in your search and rescue. It is not insurance and does not pay for medical transportation.

However, Rocky Mountain National Park is not reimbursed by the fund.

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