Girl falls down 8-foot waterfall; multiple rescues made in RMNP

A stranded 18-year-old male on Roaring River (right, on boulder) rests as a ranger (left, in yellow) waits across the river June 24.
Courtesy photo |


Last weekend was a busy time for search and rescue crews at Rocky Mountain National Park.

The first of several incidents inside the park involved an 18-year-old man from Kansas who required an emergency rescue Saturday.

The man was ultimately rescued via a highline operation that stretched across the Roaring River above the Alluvial Fan.

He had been rock hopping on the section of the river when he became stuck on its west side.

Park rangers were notified of the situation at 2:30 p.m.

The man’s family members were stationed on the east side of the river, but could not access him.

Rangers assessed the situation with members of Estes Valley Fire Protection District Dive and Swiftwater Rescue Team, and after considering the complexity and length of time the rescue would likely take, it was determined that it would be safest to conduct the rescue the next morning.

Rangers provided the man with warm clothes, a sleeping bag and food overnight, according to park officials. A ranger stayed overnight on the opposite side of the river from the young man.

Rescuers gathered at 5:30 a.m. Sunday and less than two hours later began the highline operation. The young man was rescued, unharmed, at approximately 10:20 a.m.

Over 20 people were involved in the operation.

In a separate incident Sunday, a 15-year-old female fell in the St. Vrain River in the Wild Basin area.

According to park officals, she tumbled downstream approximately 50 yards over an eight-foot waterfall and through significant rapids.

Bystanders and family members were able to rescue the girl prior to rangers arriving.

She received leg injuries and was carried out to the Wild Basin Trailhead where she was taken by ambulance to the Estes Park Medical Center.

Officials commended those who helped rescue the girl for doing so from the shore line of the river, rather than getting in the swift-moving water themselves.

Park rangers also assisted an injured 24-year-old male boulderer in the Chaos Canyon area who injured his leg after a fall, a 27-year-old female hiker on the Gem Lake Trail with a knee injury and a 26-year-old male hiker who had a seizure after taking a small fall at Emerald Lake.

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