Climbers rescued off rocks in Ken-Caryl Valley

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By Deborah Swearingen

A group of teenagers got into a sticky situation Wednesday evening after climbing on rock formations in the Ken-Caryl Valley.
West Metro Fire Rescue was called to North Ranch Road and Killdeer Lane in South Jeffco just before 7 p.m. Two climbers were stuck 60 feet up and another was stranded at around 40 feet. A fourth teen was able to get down on their own.
“There’s algae on the sandstone formations,” said Ronda Scholting, spokeswoman with West Metro Fire Rescue. “When it gets even a little bit wet, it gets way slick.”
It took West Metro’s technical rescue team less than 30 minutes to bring the climbers to safety. The team was prepared to set up the ropes for a rescue but didn't need to. West Metro was able to go up and help the first rock climber down and then used the Tower 14 ladder to help the pair stuck at 60 feet.
“In this case, it was easier and quicker (than a rope rescue),” Scholting said. “There was actually a place to park the truck.”
None of the climbers were injured.
“Nobody had any cuts or anything,” she said. “They were perfectly fine.”
As far as Scholting knows, the rocks were on public property and not in an area with signs warning people to keep off.
Although it seems like there have been an abundance of rescues in the recent months, it’s about on pace with other years for West Metro, Scholting said.  
“In talking to one of the firefighters today, he thinks we average about 10 a year,” she said. “It’s about average. (There are) just a lot clustered together.”

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042.