At 20:36 on Saturday, 22 September, CCSAR received a call from the Custer Sheriff’s Office to help a 30 year old female climber that had injured her knee and claimed that she was unable to walk. She was with a group of eight, from an adventure club associated with the university of New Mexico in Albuquerque (climbing, caving, etc.). The reporting party (RP) was at the lower South Colony lake with four others. The injured climber, with the balance of the group, had been descending Broken Hand pass (BHP) and was supposedly at an elevation of about 12,000 feet – most of the way down to the lake.
Thirteen CCSAR member responded: 7 Technical Rope, 3 ATV, 1 ground pounder, and 2 office/support. A hasty team of 2 members left the SAR barn around 21:30 followed by 6 members in the main rescue vehicle 1/2 hour later. The ATV team was stood down. The Reporting Party was instructed to wait at the lower lake and meet up with the hasty team. When the hasty team arrived at the lower lake the Reporting Party was not there. Attempts to contact the RP by cell phone were unsuccessful – the RP had apparently turned off their phone or the battery died.
The hasty team went up the trail to BHP and the other team members went searching for evidence of the climbing party. The rescue was now a search. The hasty team reported seeing lights moving on the valley floor but was unable to determine on which trail they were located. At this point 2 members were instructed to descend South Colony road to contain the Pack Trailhead.
The climbing party had decided to take the Pack Trail down to the road. They were found by the team sent to contain the Pack Trail waiting at the side of the road. All of the fielded CCSAR teams were recalled at this point. The subject refused medical treatment by CCSAR but desired transport down to their camp, located below the gate at South Colony road. Three members of the climbing group (who could barely walk) were given water and then transported by CCSAR to their camp. The rest of the group walked down to their camp via the road.
The mission ended at 02:00 Sunday morning.