Noted outdoorsman hospitalized after Mount Sopris paragliding accident |

Noted outdoorsman hospitalized after Mount Sopris paragliding accident

Rick CarrollAspen CorrespondentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Tom Myers/Special to The Aspen TimesDick Jackson paraglides off Mount Sopris on Saturday. The accomplished outdoorsman was hospitalized in serious condition after injuring his back in the flight.

Accomplished mountaineer and outdoorsman Dick Jackson is recovering in a Denver hospital after suffering injuries from a paragliding accident off Mount Sopris early Saturday afternoon.Jackson, 60, underwent back surgery Sunday morning at St. Anthony Hospital, a close friend of the family said.Jackson was airlifted to the hospital after a Flight For Life Summit County helicopter, along with members of Mountain Rescue Aspen, located him on the trail between Thomas and Dinkle lakes, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s office.As of 1:40 p.m. Sunday, he was listed in serious condition, said a hospital spokeswoman.Carbondale resident Tom Myers said he spoke with Jackson briefly before he launched. Myers, who was not a member of Jackson’s party, said Jackson was the only one that launched from the east summit of Sopris at the time.Myers said he and the party he was with watched Jackson for a while, but he was out of their sight when his landing efforts apparently when awry.Jackson called authorities at approximately 12:45 p.m. – sometime after he landed – and reported he was injured, said Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Lumsden. As a team from Mountain Rescue Aspen and the sheriff’s office stationed at the Thomas Lakes trailhead, several hikers came across Jackson, Lumsden said. At least one had a GPS and was able to pinpoint Jackson’s location for rescuers. Officials relayed the coordinates to the Flight For Life helicopter, which landed in a meadow in close proximity to Jackson, Lumsden said.Lumsden said the search and rescue was an “indicator of what modern technology can do.””A victim lands in a remote area, is able to pull out a cell phone and tell us about it, a hiker shows up with a GPS and pegs where he is and relays the coordinates to us,” Lumsden said. “This was a pretty unique event.”Jackson, 60, is one of the Roaring Fork Valley’s most well-known and accomplished outdoorsmen, earning a global reputation in alpine mountaineering, rock and ice climbing, and ski mountaineering, among other disciplines.He’s owned Aspen Expeditions/Rocky Mountain Climbing School since 1976.According to the website for Aspen Expeditions, “Dick has climbed and skied extensively in the Colorado Rockies, the Himalaya, Alaska, the European Alps & Africa. His first ascents include the Voie Jackson in Chamonix, France, in 1976. He was on the first American summit ascent of Himulchuli, Nepal, in 1984. Dick has several first technical ascents to his credit in Colorado and Chamonix, France.”Jackson also has been a regular guest expert for local print and broadcast media, often providing an insider’s take on backcountry skiing and avalanche conditions.According to his firm’s website, he’s a current board member of the American Mountain Guides Association, of which he was board president from

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