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Comparing recreation benefits against risks with the deep snow on Pikes Peak

Posted at 8:54 AM, Mar 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-21 11:08:08-04

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — El Paso County Search and Rescue worked into the early morning hours Wednesday to help a couple of hikers stuck in snow up Barr Trail on Pikes Peak.

Just a couple of days ago, they spent hours in a major snowstorm getting someone off the incline hiking challenge at the base of Pikes Peak.

“I haven't seen snow like this in a very long time,” Jay Christianson with El Paso County Search and Rescue said.

Christianson is among the fans of getting out and enjoying time on trails covered in deep snow.

“Recreating outside safely right now is a great decision. I went out and skied to the summit of Mount Muscoco and turned around and skied back down.”

He emphasizes the part about doing it safely.

Carry emergency gear, food, and water and let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.

Also, learn about the risks of avalanches.

“Understand the dangers involved, especially with the dramatic temperature swings we're seeing during the day that avalanche conditions can vary from quite stable and relatively safe to quite dangerous very quickly,” Christianson said.

He explained understanding the risks can reduce them when heading out to play in high-country snow.

“We don't want to say don't recreate, we want to say recreate responsibly and recognize that if something does go wrong, absolutely call 911 at the first blush of trouble, because search and rescue is eager to help.”

Hidden risks of recreation after local trails get buried in snow