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Hikers use emergency beacon to call for help from Avalanche Lake area west of Aspen

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Posted at 9:01 AM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-10 11:01:54-04

PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. — Three women were rescued from the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness Tuesday after one of them became injured.

Around 3:40 p.m. on Tuesday, a hiker activated her personal locator emergency beacon around Avalanche Lake in Pitkin County.

According to initial reports, three women had been hiking the Capitol Creek Loop to Haystack Mountain. They started the hike Saturday at 4 p.m. and planned to finish on Thursday.

READ MORE: These devices, apps could save your life if you face trouble in the Colorado backcountry

The Capitol Creek Loop to Haystack Mountain is 38.6-mile looped trail in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness, about 26 miles west of Aspen. The loop covers more than 12,000 feet of elevation gain.

Authorities in Pitkin County decided to assemble a two-man team to use a helicopter to fly to the site.

Around 7:50 p.m., the team found the three woman — including a 24-year-old with a leg injury — at the location where the emergency beacon was activated. The injured woman was brought to the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, where she was evaluated and released by Aspen Ambulance medical personnel.

The helicopter returned to the Avalanche Lake area to pick up the other two women.

The rescue involved 18 volunteers from Mountain Rescue Aspen, the High Altitude Aviation Training Site, Aspen Ambulance and the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office is reminding hikers who visit Colorado’s backcountry to always be prepared with gear and provisions, and to understand the conditions of the area they’re recreating around.