Old Fall River Road will be closed in 2014 due to flood damage
Damages on Old Fall River Road are extensive and the road will remain closed to vehicles through 2014. It is unknown at this time whether hikers and bicyclists will be allowed on the road. More »
Impacts from September 2013 Flood
Due to recent flooding, there are still some closures in the park that could affect your visit. More »
Second Search In Flattop Mountain Area of Rocky Mountain National Park In Past Week
Contact: Kyle Patterson, (970) 586-1363
On Wednesday, January 8, at approximately 4:30 p.m. two lost hikers contacted park rangers by cell phone. The 23-year-old male and female, from out of state, had reached the summit of Flattop Mountain (12,324 feet elevation) and became lost when hiking back down.
Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel began an immediate search for the two in the Flattop Mountain and Mill Creek Basin areas. The two were located above the "Banana Bowls" at an elevation of roughly 10,600 feet at approximately 8:00 p.m. The SAR team reached the Bear Lake Trailhead with the two hikers at 9:45 p.m.
The two hikers did not have snowshoes or backcountry gear and were not prepared for the freezing temperatures or to be in the backcountry after dark. Due to "post-holing" in deep snow the man's jeans, cotton socks and leather work boots were frozen solid when searchers found them. Rescuers used a backpacking stove to thaw the man's boots so he could walk out.
This search could easily have had a tragic ending and serves as an important reminder that preparedness is critical when exploring Rocky Mountain National Park. Frostbite and hypothermia present a clear and present danger. If going into the backcountry – visitors should plan their trip well and be prepared for the possibility of bitter cold winter conditions. Becoming lost or receiving a minor injury can be life threatening if not prepared, especially in winter. Most trails are not marked for winter use, so navigation can be challenging. Visitors should not rely on cellphone service as many areas of the park have no service. It is critical to check current weather and avalanche forecasts before venturing out.
At a minimum, winter backcountry visitors should carry water/ wind proof outerwear, whistle, topographic map, compass, flashlight or headlamp, matches or other fire starter, extra high energy food and water, extra layers of clothing and insulation, emergency bivy sack, and a first aid kit. Adequate winter footwear is essential- waterproof/ insulated footwear with gaiters and snowshoes are needed.
Did You Know?
The Holzwarth Historic District is a former guest ranch on the Colorado River. Open to visitors during the summer, the property features a dozen small cabins including the Mama cabin, named after Sophia Holzwarth, who ran the rustic resort.