Crews rescue man near Snowmass Lake
Mountain Rescue Aspen located a distressed hiker in the Snowmass Lake area of Pitkin County at about 9 p.m. Tuesday and called for helicopter rescue, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release early this morning.
Sheriff’s Office patrol supervisor Jesse Steindler said the two rescue teams left Aspen at 2 p.m. and had hoped to get to the area before dark after receiving three reports of a hiker in distress.
The Sheriff’s Office had received conflicting information throughout the day, Steindler said.
It also got a call from a Missouri business that an employee who had been vacationing in the Aspen area had not reported for work Tuesday morning. The distressed hiker was later identified as 28-year-old Christopher Michael Fontaine from Grain Valley, Missouri, confirming that the hiker and the overdue employee were one and the same.
Rescuers located Fontaine at Snowmass Lake at approximately 8:50 p.m. Rescuers reported that his condition warranted immediate extrication and medical attention.
The Flight for Life helicopter was dispatched from Frisco, arriving at the lake at approximately 10:30 p.m.
Fontaine was flown to Aspen Valley Hospital for treatment.
Nighttime rescues are generally not carried out by the Sheriff’s Office because of the added risk to rescuers, but due to the reported severity of Fontaine’s condition, it was deemed necessary to deploy personnel and a helicopter in the dark.
The lake, at an elevation of nearly 11,000 feet near the extreme western edge of Pitkin County, is located about 10 aerial miles west of Aspen. It is a popular midpoint camping spot for hikers planning to summit Snowmass Mountain, a fourteener.
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