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Rescue calls on the Incline increase, firefighters ask hikers to be cautious

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jul 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-30 12:28:31-04

(MANITOU SPRINGS) – The days after the Fourth of July holiday usually mean visitors flock to Colorado attractions and plenty of us are looking for a way to burn off those post-BBQ calories.

Both factors can often lead people to the Manitou Incline.

The Manitou Springs Fire Department is asking people to use caution and to be prepared when approaching the Incline, because rescue calls increased last year spiking during the July 4th weekend.

Hiking the incline is no joke, “We encourage people to take the incline seriously,” stated Dave Hunting, public information officer for the Manitou Fire Department.

Ascending almost a mile in its 2000+ steps and boasting a false summit, it can be a daunting challenge, especially for visitors or people who aren’t in the best of shape.

A normal week sees only two to three rescue calls, the days surrounding the holiday can be more hectic, when more visitors from lower altitudes attempt the climb.

“This is a very busy time for us,” said Hunting.

According to the fire department, search and rescue crews had to rescue five people off the incline last year during the Fourth of July weekend.

Each rescue lasts anywhere from two to six hours. Dirt bikes are ridden up Barr trail usually and then first aid is applied on scene.

“More times than not, it’s a matter of dehydration, minor cuts and bruises.”

However, if the emergency is more dire, El Paso County Search and Rescue or Manitou’s Fire Department might hike the injured person out on a stretcher.

“That does detract from the personnel we have here in town to respond to fire emergencies,” continued Hunting.

The fire department and avid hikers suggest the following for a fun and safe climb:

  • Hiking shoes (not flip-flops)
  • Plenty of water
  • Time to acclimate to the altitude
  • Sunscreen
  • Setting a good pace
  • Breaks as needed
  • Attempting a less challenging climb first