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Injured hiker uses emergency location device, gets airlifted from Cathedral Peak

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Posted at 12:35 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 14:36:46-04

PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. — Authorities are reminding avid hikers about the importance of emergency location devices after an injured man was rescued on Cathedral Peak this past weekend.

Around 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, the Pitkin County Combined Regional Communication Center received a report from an emergency SPOT device near Cathedral Peak.

The device had been activated about 700 feet south of the summit of the 13er, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

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

Mountain Rescue Aspen was notified and assembled a team to start the rescue. The St. Anthony’s Flight for Life helicopter based in Frisco — about 55 miles away, as the crow flies — flew over the area and located two people around 13,200 feet. They were on the east side of Cathedral Peak.

One of them, a 47-year-old man, was injured after he had slid and tumbled 150 feet down a snowfield. In the fall, he’d injured his right ankle. He also had some bruising and abrasions, according to the sheriff's office.

The medical helicopter transported the injured climber to Aspen Valley Hospital for treatment.

The sheriff’s office said there have been several recent rescue missions that were initiated after a hiker used an emergency location device. While some devices only transmit a location, newer technology allows for two-way communication. Authorities say the latter is much better because it also allows the user to get confirmation when authorities receive their distress signal. The user can also communicate the nature of their emergency so rescue personnel can prepare for the situation appropriately, the sheriff’s office said.