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SCRG Ski Movie Fundraiser Thursday November 8th - WE by Poor Boyz Productions

Come out this Thursday, November 8th at 8pm and enjoy a great ski movie and help support the Summit County Rescue Group.

The movie will be at 8pm at the Dillon Dam Brewery.

Poor Boyz Productions and the Dillon Dam Brewery are supporting a fundraiser for SCRG by premiering PBP's newest film, WE: A Collection of Individuals. There will be raffle tickets and prizes!  For more details, click here:

Cliffed Out Hiker and Dog Rescued from Quandary Peak

At 1955hrs on Sunday. September 16th, Summit County Communications Center received a report of two overdue hikers on Quandary Peak, south of Breckenridge.  The Summit County Rescue Group (SCRG) was dispatched, and discovered the hikers' vehicle at the Blue Lakes Trailhead, on County Road850.  Initial SCRG responders discovered one of the two hikers making his way to the vehicle.  This hiker relayed that his hiking companion and a dog were uninjured, but "cliffed out" southwest of the West Ridge route without any technical gear.  He had downclimbed to seek help using abandoned equipment found in the area.  17 members of SCRG responded to assist the cliffed out hiker and dog.  The cliffed out hiker and dog were both lowered to safety and were escorted off the West Ridge route, returning to their vehicles around 0630hrs Monday morning.

Every year, the Summit County Rescue Group responds to calls for assistance from hikers that are hiking with their dogs.  Evacuating dogs from technical terrain increases the risk to both rescuers and subjects.  In view of the recent rescue of "Missy" from Mt. Bierstadt and several rescues from the West Ridge of Quandary Peak, here are some tips to make your next hike with your dog a successful event for all involved.

As you choose a route, think about the terrain.  Is there scrambling involved?  Will your dog's movement increase rockfall danger?  Are there terrain features involved that might require you to raise or lower your dog, and are you equipped to do so?   If you are planning to carry a helmet, harness, and/or rope for yourself, think twice before taking your dog along with you.  Make sure you choose a route that is well within your, and your dog's, physical limitations.  A dog that rarely walks more than a few blocks at a time at sea level might not be a good candidate for a 12 mile hike above treeline.  Also, older dogs may have health issues that are not shown at sea level, but when brought to altitude and put to a stressful hike, can easily be disastrous, if not deadly, for the dogs.

Once you have chosen a route that is appropriate for your dog, check the weather.  Remember that your dog doesn't sweat the way a human does - they rely on panting to expel heat.  If it is hot, carefully monitor your dog for ill effects from the heat.  If it is cold, consider whether your dog is used to the cold.  A dog that doesn't spend much time outside during the winter might not be ready for a day outside in sub-freezing temperatures.  Did you know that dogs' eyes can be damaged by UV light?  Eye protection can minimize UV light damage to a dogs' eyes.  The effects of UV light and warmer temperatures can be minimized by hiking before 10 am, after 3 pm, and keeping your dog in the shade.

The condition of a dog's paws can be the key to a successful hike.  A day of hiking over rough terrain can severely damage the pads of a dog's paws, as illustrated by this photo, taken after evacuating a dog from Quandary Peak.  First, keep your dog's nails trimmed short.  This will help whether your dog is hiking barefoot or if he/she is wearing boots.  If your dog is accustomed to walking on rough terrain, he /she is probably fine "barefoot" and will use their toes to help grip the surface of the trail.  If your dog is not used to rough terrain, booties might be a good option to protect your dog's feet.  Try to keep your dog's paws dry.  As appealing as a mid-hike, 15 minute soak in a creek or lake might sound, wet paws can spell disaster for a dog on a hike because wet pads are easily worn down by rough trail surfaces or by the friction in boots.  We're not saying don't cool your dog off in a calm, flowing stream or river, but limit the time the feet are in the water. During the winter, keep the longer fur between the toes and pads of your dog's feet trimmed flush with the pads (and resist the temptation to shave it down to the skin).  This will help minimize the buildup of snow and ice on your dog's paws.

If you are skiing or snowshoeing with your dog, watch to see if your dog is "post-holing," which can cause injuries such as shoulder bursitis and ligament damage. Obviously the sharp edges on the skis, boards, and snowshoe "teeth" are additional hazards for our four legged friends.

Monitor your dog closely.  He or she usually will tell you when it is time to turn around.  If your dog is acting differently, picking up a paw, limping, switching weight bearing legs, or running three legged, your hike is over.  Vomiting and/or diarrhea are also signs that a dog is finished with his hike.  Keep in mind, even an injured dog, will continue to follow his owner until he physically is unable to continue.  Before starting your hike, consider your dog's overall health and pre-existing conditions.  Does your dog have hip dysplasia?  Elbow dysplasia?  Endocrine (thyroid, adrenal gland, etc) issues?  If so, please discuss your hiking plans with your veterinarian before heading out on the trails.

Finally, carry a first aid kit for your dog so that minor injuries can be treated and bandaged before they turn into major injuries on the hike out.

Even though these helpful hints seem like they should be common sense as you read this article in your home or at your favorite local coffee shop, it's very easy to get caught up in the excitement of the hike--the first 14er, the buddies from college visiting that you haven't seen in years, etc.  So, take a breath, eat and hydrate well in the morning before your hike, read the weather/avalanche report, check your gear, then stop for a minute and take a good look at your faithful, four-legged friend.  Honestly ask yourself, "Is this a good day for my dog to hike with me?" Hopefully, the answer will be a resounding "yes!"


Frisco BBQ Challenge - June 15 and 16

SCRG is at the corner of 2nd and Main St. in Frisco, grilling up jalapeno poppers and habanero poppers for your enjoyment at this year's Frisco BBQ Challenge!  We also have fried bananas and sweet tea for those craving something on the sweeter side.

Friends of SCRG merchandise - t-shirts, wristbands, and SCRG history books - will all be available at the BBQ Challenge.  For your convenience, we can accept credit card transactions on site!

Thanks for your support, and we hope to see you at the BBQ Challenge!

Skiing Accident on Buffalo Mountain

On March 30, 2012 at 1503hrs, Summit County Communications Center was advised of an injured backcountry skier in Silver Couloir on Buffalo Mountain near Silverthorne.  The Summit County Rescue Group (SCRG) deployed 36 rescuers to evacuate the injured skier and his companions.  Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was in progress when rescuers arrived on scene.  This 27-year-old male from Denver was skiing with his brother and two friends when he apparently fell and slid approximately 1500 feet down Silver Couloir and struck some rocks.  The Summit County Coroner identified the decedent as Jeff Ipsen.

Tim Brown, an avalanche forecaster from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center who was also skiing in the area, assisted SCRG in evacuating the parties and confirmed that the skier's injuries did not result from an avalanche.  SCRG was also assisted by Flight for Life Colorado, the Summit County Ambulance Service, and Lake Dillon Fire Rescue.

We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Ipsen family.

Registration for SCRG's 36th Annual Avalanche Seminar is OPEN!

Download the brochure/registration form here.

We look forward to seeing you in Silverthorne!

2011 Avalanche Seminar Details!

Need to make travel plans for the Avalanche Seminar?  Here are some details... registration will open in a few days.

As in years past, both basic and advanced courses will be offered.  Tuition is $95.00 for both courses.

The classroom session will be held on Saturday, December 3rd, at the La Quinta Inn and Suites in Silverthorne (directions and contact info available via the link).  Saturday will also include a group dinner and an evening presentation.

The field session will be held on Sunday, December 4th - directions will be provided at the seminar.

Lodging for the Avalanche Seminar is available at the La Quinta Inn and Suites in Silverthorne - please request the Summit County Rescue Group rate of $69.00 per night when making your reservation.

Please direct questions to the Avalanche Seminar Committee.

Mountains Don't Care, But We Do!

This short film was completed as as part of the Mountain Rescue Association's 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2009.  The film features Dee Molenaar, Jim Whittaker, Wolf Bauer, and other key individuals involved in the early history of mountain rescue in the US Pacific Northwest. The video shows that the roots of mountain rescue were in the Alps, with immigrants Wolf Bauer and Otto Trott bringing their experience and skills from Europe to the US. The video closes with a look at mountain rescue today, as well as some answers to the question: What motivates mountain rescuers and why do they face danger to help others in trouble in the mountains? The film was featured in a number of film festivals and was a special award winner at the Mountain Film Festival in Mammoth Lakes California in 2010.

Mountains Don't Care, But We Do! (2009) from topograph media on Vimeo.

SCRG Responds to Paragliding Crash on Loveland Pass

On October 4th at 1106 hours, the Summit County Rescue Group (SCRG) was paged to respond to the report of a hanglider crash on the west side of Loveland Pass.  A bystander driving on U.S. 6 witnessed the hard landing and called 911.

SCRG arrived on scene at 1128 hours and found an injured paraglider.  The paraglider was immobilized and hand carried to a waiting ambulance.  He was transported him to Saint Anthony Summit Medical Center.  The Summit County Sheriff's Office, Summit County Ambulance Service, and Lake Dillon Fire Rescue also responded to the scene.

SCRG Rescues Hiker in Gore Range

At 11:30 on the morning of September 26, Summit County Communications Center received a 911 call requesting assistance in the rescue of a 34 year old man unable to extricate himself from a couloir he was trying to ascend en route to Thorne Peak, north of Red Mountain in the Gore Range, west of Silverthorne.  The reporting party advised that the stranded man had been unable to move for the last two hours, and was cold and getting weak.  Mission coordinator Brian Binge activated the Summit County Rescue Group and that Flight for Life Colorado be put on standby status. The reporting party said he could hear the stranded climber's friend calling for help.  Summit County Communications Center was able to determine the reporting party's location using cellular triangulation.

Fearing the man would succumb to exhaustion and fall if help was not flown to him, SCRG members met Flight for Life Colorado's Lifeguard Two in a meadow in the Ruby Ranch community. Lifeguard Two flew over the area with a SCRG member to confirm the stranded climbers' location.  Once their location was confirmed the SCRG member was dropped off nearby to make contact with the climbers and await additional rescue members. Three more rescuers were flown to the stranded party.

Team leader Ben Butler climbed to the stranded man and was able to secure him to the cliff face.  Butler then built an anchor system so that he could lower the cold, exhausted man down to waiting rescuers and his friend.

By the time the man and rescuer Butler were reunited with the other three rescuers and the second climber it was 4:30 in the afternoon, too late to make the 6 mile hike out to Highway 9.  The Colorado Army National Guard High-Altitude ARNG Aviation Training Site (HAATS) in Eagle County was alerted to the need for help in the extrication.  This military training facility, tasked with training military helicopter pilots for high altitude flying, dispatched a Blackhawk helicopter to evacuate the 2 climbers and their 4 rescuers.  The six men were flown to a meadow in the Ruby Ranch community.  Since neither man required medical attention they were driven home.

SCRG later learned that the two men left the Willowbrook subdivision at 3:40 am to climb the Thorne northwest of Red Mountain.  They hiked the Gore trail to Salmon Lake and climbed into the cirque above it with the intention of making the ridge and traversing to Thorne peak.   At some point, they split up attempting to find a route to the ridge.  It was then that one of the two became trapped.  Lacking the appropriate climbing equipment for the terrain, the men were not able to self rescue.  Another hiker in the area was able to get cell phone reception and contact the Summit County Communications Center.

The Summit County Rescue Group wishes to extend their appreciation to the crews of Lifeguard and the Colorado Army National Guard High-Altitude ARNG Aviation Training Site for their assistance on this mission. Without their heroic efforts and support this rescue might have had a very different ending.  SCRG also thanks the Willow Brook Metro District and the Ruby Ranch community for supporting this mission.

Always be prepared for the unexpected.  Don't venture into terrain you are not confident you can navigate.



Application Period Closed

The application period for our Fall 2011 New Member Training Class is closed.  Thanks to all that applied - we will be in touch with each of you this week.  Our first class will be held on Tuesday, September 27th.

If you'd like information about our next new member training class, tentatively scheduled for Spring 2012, please e-mail us at, and we will contact you as soon as that information becomes available!

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