Two hikers were airlifted out of Deer Creek Canyon Park on Thursday night after being injured in a steep and remote area, according to an official at Inter-Canyon Fire/Rescue.
The two men were at a spot near Plymouth Rock Trail, which Inter-Canyon spokesman Dan Hatlestad described as being a short but difficult hike.
“They had left the trail and begun to work their way off trail in a very rocky and steep area,” he said.
Hatlestad said he didn’t know exactly what happened, but when the men called 911, both had injuries to their legs, and one of them had a possible head injury.
“We don’t exactly know what happened, if it was a fall associated with some rocks (or something else),” Hatlestad said. “We don’t have a clear idea of what happened.”
Hatlestad said the men were lucky to get cell phone service because coverage in the park is spotty.
About 24 responders from Inter-Canyon, Indian Hills and West Metro fire departments, the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office, Jeffco Open Space and the Alpine Rescue Team helped with rescue efforts.
The rescuers used old four-wheel-drive trails and hiking trails to reach the hikers, which took several hours.
The pair were finally spotted by a Flight for Life crew, which dropped off two crew members at a flat landing area near the mountain peak. The two hiked down to where the hikers were, arriving about the same time as the ground crews, Hatlestad said. That was about 5 p.m.
“It was growing dark very, very rapidly,” Hatlestad said. “And of course at the same time … the temperatures were dropping very rapidly.”
Responders were able to extricate both men and brought them, one at a time, up to the landing zone, where the helicopter crews flew them to local hospitals.
Hatlestad said he didn't know the conditions of the men.
After they were flown out, it took about 90 minutes for the rescuers to hike out of the park.
“Lessons to be learned are to prepare for hiking with changing weather conditions, to have appropriate foul-weather gear with you, and to remain on the marked trails to avoid becoming trapped or injured in one of these very steep and rocky remote areas,” Hatlestad said.