A 57-year-old Colorado man was hauled out of Rocky Mountain National Park's backcountry in a hand-carried litter Tuesday night in a grueling evacuation.
Rescuers and the man, who was not immediately identified, reached the Bear Lake Trailhead about 10:30 pm. He was then transported by ambulance to an Estes Park hospital.
The rescue site was located above the tree line near an elevation of 11,000 feet, about five miles from the Bear Lake Trailhead. Winds in the area were clocked near hurricane force Tuesday afternoon, making use of a helicopter impossible.
According to media reports, the man suffered serious injuries in a fall down the Ptarmigan Glacier on Monday. His plight was not known until two backcountry skiers spotted the man Tuesday morning. They were able to notify the park about the situation by cell phone shortly before noon on Tuesday.
By the time he was found, the victim had apparently been lying at the foot of the glacier for about 24 hours. The skiers reportedly wrapped the victim in warm clothing, gave him fluids and food, and remained with him until additional help arrived.
The first team of two rangers reached the scene on foot by mid-afternoon, and were followed by about a dozen other park personnel. The combination of the weather, rough terrain, altitude and snow and slush on the ground made the five-mile trip back to the road a difficult one.