11 From Fort Carson Airlifted Off Longs Peak

Photo: Longs Peak Summit (Wikimedia)
The Longs Peak summit.

Longs Peak were airlifted off the 14,259-foot mountain on Friday.

Two in the group came down with altitude sickness on Thursday, said Lt. Col. Sean Ryan, an Army spokesman. When it became apparent the group was in distress, it contacted park rangers for assistance. Park spokesman Kyle Patterson said the group was never lost or missing,.

"They stayed the night, Ryan said. "Then the next day the park rangers were able to assist first the sick and then the rest of the guys as well."

The group was on Kiener’s Route on the mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park as part of a climbing training program on Thursday. Ryan said the two sick soldiers "gutted it out" to reach the peak, likely with help from others. 

"They weren't sick enough where they couldn't make it to the summit," he said. "[They were] sick enough where you don't want to walk back down right after either."

The Associated Press reports that the route they were taking is not as technical as some others on the mountain, but still requires climbers to cross a steep ice field and a ledge that is very narrow at points.

Ryan told CPR News Friday afternoon that Fort Carson was tracking 11 personnel on the mountain, which differed from park service statements that said 10 people were in the group.

The forecast for the mountain was for light rain falling on Friday afternoon and freeze-thaw conditions Friday night, with winds out of the northwest.

More than 40 park personnel helped in the effort to get the group down safely.

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