SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — The Summit County Rescue Group responded to two separate calls for assistance after three hikers got lost on Quandary Peak Monday.
At around noon, a man yelling for help caught the attention of nearby hikers. The man had summited the peak, but on the descent lost the trail and ended up in very soft snow until he was unable to climb out a drainage, according to a press release from the rescue group.
Rescue crews responded and located the distressed hiker after a good Samaritan guided the lost hiker down to McCullough Gulch Road. No injuries were reported.
About three hours later, rescue crews received a second notification of two women who had also summited Quandary Peak and lost the trail during their descent.
The two women were lost and in deep snow on the southeast flank, about 900 feet above Blue Lakes Road, according to cell phone GPS coordinates. Crews advised them to continue hiking downhill towards the road where they were met by members of the rescue group and taken to their parked car. They too were not injured.
“We would like to remind hikers that at this time of year the snow conditions can change throughout the day. Hiking to the top of many peaks may be on very firm snow in the early morning hours, but as the temperature warms up, the snow quickly softens,” said SCRG spokesman Charles Pitman in a press release.
Pitman recommends either timing the hike to conclude prior to the snow becoming soft, or taking snowshoes as a backup.
As the temperatures warm up and the travel restrictions are relaxed, Pitman anticipates the crowds to increase. He reminds hikers that SCRG has modified their search and rescue protocols and that help will always be provided, but response times may be extended.