ANNUAL REPORT 2022
Dear Friends and Supporters,
El Paso County is diverse in its topography and attracts outdoor enthusiasts that recreate on our well-traveled trails to those that venture into our more challenging terrain. Our team is prepared to respond at all times in all seasons to those in need, from the wide open plains to the summit of Pikes Peak.
Early in 2022, our team rescued a lost hiker in harsh winter conditions near the summit of Pikes Peak. Spanning two days and involving nearly every member of our team, it was a successful mission with the hiker rescued and rehabilitated to walk down to Barr Camp. Although not all rescues have an equally positive outcome, achieving our mission to save lives, as we did with this incident, is especially rewarding.
Throughout the year, we received 212 calls for rescue or search. Of those calls, we responded to 104 incidents, with our volunteer team members donating nearly 17,000 hours of their time to incident response, training, and other duties in 2022.
It’s important to recognize that we cannot complete our missions alone. We work cooperatively with many other agencies in our community to help those in need of our services, including the Colorado Springs Fire Department, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Manitou Springs Fire Department, American Medical Response, Barr Camp, Colorado Springs Police Department, Flight for Life Colorado, Green Mountain Falls/Chipeta Park and Cascade Fire Departments, Palmer Lake and Tri-Lakes Fire Departments, Ute Pass Regional Ambulance District, and others.
In addition to our successful missions, we were honored to be chosen as a finalist in the Land Rover Defender Service Awards, one of just five search and rescue teams in the United States and Canada. We were ultimately awarded second place and received a generous $15,000 donation from Land Rover and Chase Bank. This donation will help fund equipment and maintenance to continue allowing us to search, rescue, and save lives.
We are incredibly grateful for the support and assistance of our partner agencies and the residents, businesses, and visitors to our beautiful region. It truly takes a village to help those in need, and we are honored to be part of that community. As we head into 2023, we look forward to the new year and the service we will enthusiastically render.
El Paso County Search and Rescue
2022 RESCUE REVIEW
Average Mission Time:
3 hours 44 minutes
Busiest Day of the Week:
Busiest Time of Day:
We have to maintain enough soft goods (rope, webbing, and accessory cord) to reach from the summit of Pikes Peak to well out into the Plains.
On any given year, we retire about 15% of these soft goods or about 2500 ft.
We require 300 carabiners to maintain all of our kits, edge pro, etc.
On average, we spend 1/3 of our time training, 1/3 of our time on overhead, and 1/3 of our time on missions. For every hour we spend rescuing people, we spend more than two hours training and maintaining the team.
An estimated 265 stale energy bars were eaten during missions and trainings throughout the year.
2022 TOP MISSIONS
BLIZZARD RESCUE ON PIKES PEAK
On March 29 at approximately 1530, we received notification of an overdue hiker on Pikes Peak. Reports stated that the hiker had passed through Barr Camp headed uphill, but there were no reports of them having successfully reached the summit. The hiker was known to have camped near A-Frame on the night of March 28 but had not been seen or heard from since the early morning hours of March 29.
A team of four members was deployed to clear Barr Trail from the summit to A-Frame; however, blizzard conditions at the summit made that impossible. As a result, two members were deployed to hike lower Barr Trail to A-Frame, but they were unable to locate the hiker.
The next morning, teams were staged at 0500, with a team of nine members hiking down from the summit. Split into two groups, these members took parallel routes down the mountain through mixed alpine travel conditions in near-blizzard weather to attempt to locate the overdue hiker. Another team of four members was dispatched to hike up from Barr Camp to A-Frame and eventually meet the summit teams. Approximately two hours later, an additional team of ten members was dispatched to ride the Cog Railway from the station in Manitou Springs to Mountain View and then hike to Barr Camp as additional resources/evacuation team.
Shortly after 1200, one of the summit teams located the hiker near 2 Mile. The hiker was found to be in generally good health. After some rehabilitation, including food, water, and warm clothing, the hiker and both summit teams were able to hike down to Barr Camp, continue to the Mountain View station, and eventually ride the Cog Railway down to Manitou Springs, where the subject’s family was waiting.
Our longest mission of the year at 28 hours, 34 members were directly involved in the successful rescue of this hiker, with the rest of the team remaining in town on standby should additional resources be needed. In addition to our team, we had the support of the entire community as we searched. Despite the difficulty involved, the success of this mission was a positive start to the year and a great introduction for our newest members.
K9 RESCUE ON BARR TRAIL
On July 24, a page was received at 0534 for an injured dog near Barr Camp. Having already carried his dog multiple miles down Barr Trail, the owner was concerned that his dog, Roland, would be unable to walk and would need assistance to get the dog the remaining 6.5 miles down to the trailhead. At 0551, six team members were dispatched to help with a rescue.
Accessing Barr Trail from Longs Ranch Road and Bob’s Road, members began hiking up Barr Trail towards Barr Camp. The team met up with Roland and his owner, approximately 0.5 miles from the vehicles. After a medical evaluation, it was determined that carrying Roland out via litter to the vehicles would be prudent. Roland and his owner were then driven to their car at the trailhead, with the mission ending around 0900.
Unsurprisingly, the team’s response to this mission was immense, as we all love to help our four-legged friends. Additionally, not only did we have the joy of helping these two get down the mountain safely, but post-mission, Roland found some fame as his rescue was shared by news stations and publications across the country, including People Magazine.
PIKES PEAK MARATHON HELICOPTER EVACUATION
During this year’s Pikes Peak Marathon on September 18 at approximately 1329, the team received a report of a sick runner with cramps in the vicinity of the Cirque on Barr Trail. The members already staged at the Cirque for the marathon hiked a short distance to the subject, stabilized them, and then prepared for a litter evacuation. The members staged at 2 Mile for the marathon hiked up to meet the evac team, and once all of our members were with the subject, they performed a litter evacuation and hiked down to meet Flight for Life at the 2 Mile landing zone. Once the subject was transferred to the helicopter and eventually to additional medical care, the evacuation team continued hiking down to meet team vehicles near Barr Camp.
Simultaneous to the litter evacuation, a team member competing in the marathon witnessed another runner fall on Lower Barr Trail near the finish line. In the true SAR volunteering spirit, our member stopped to help the injured runner, knowing he would be sacrificing his goal time.
NEW RESCUE VEHICLE
Thanks to a generous grant, we acquired a new rescue vehicle to replace our existing Rescue 1. Chosen for its utility as a rescue and response vehicle, the new Rescue 1, a 2021 Ford F350 Diesel, provides seating for six team members plus gear and will allow us to transport a fully fieldable team in one vehicle.
Prior to being put into service, a significant amount of upfitting was done to make the vehicle as effective as possible.
Features & Upgrades:
- Fully customized cargo box was configured to allow rapid access to our most commonly used equipment, improving response time while providing secure and organized storage.
- Emergency lighting system to provide better visibility and warning for response driving and ample area lighting while on-scene, protecting the components from damage.
- Diesel powertrain that provides substantial towing capability, allowing us to tow our 12,000lb snowcats, thus expanding our fleet of capable vehicles.
While this new vehicle is somewhat similar to the truck it replaced, all these features greatly improve the team’s capability. We are forever grateful to have the support of our community, which enables us to provide our members with the best tools to safely and efficiently perform our crucial duties.
LAND ROVER DEFENDER SERVICE AWARDS FINALIST
Earlier this fall, we were named a finalist for the 2022 Land Rover Defender Service Awards. One of just five search and rescue teams throughout the United States and Canada, we were chosen based on our video submitted by Land Rover Colorado Springs. The winner of the competition was to be determined by popular vote and would receive a new customized Land Rover Defender 130 vehicle and a $25,000 grant.
The competition was fierce, and we had incredible support from the local community and throughout Colorado as we attempted to earn the most votes. After the votes were tallied, we were chosen as one of the final two teams and ultimately awarded second place and a generous $15,000 grant from Land Rover.
Total Cost: $920.00
Tablet Computer Case
Total Cost: $180.00
Total Cost: $405.00
Knot Passing Pulley
Total Cost: $400.00
Total Cost: $1,200.00
Battery Powered Chainsaw
Total Cost: $700.00
MRA Conference Attendance
Total Cost: $1,400.00
Total Cost: $1,400.00
Total Cost: $690.00
Total Cost: $16,000.00
This year, our K9 team grew with the addition of five new puppies/dogs. Training to be both trailing and air scent dogs, the addition of these dogs was a family affair. Three of the four puppies joined older siblings already on the team, and the fourth joined a cousin, making for a total of twelve K9 members on the team and one big happy dog family!
Throughout the year, our K9s and their handlers trained for more than 200 hours each, were involved in fifteen search missions, both in-county and as mutual aid in nearby counties, and received a combined twelve new and renewed certifications. As we look to 2023, we plan to transition our five new K9s to fieldable status and continue to grow the certifications for our current working members.
MEET THE 2022 K9 NEW MEMBER CLASS
Breed: German Shorthaired Pointer
Birthdate: July 15, 2022
Handler: Patty Baxter
Breed: Redbone Coonhound
Birthdate: August 20, 2022
Handler: Tom Spencer
Breed: Labrador / Hound Mix
Birthdate: August 17, 2020
Handler: Kyle Green
Breed: Fox Red Labrador Retriever
Birthdate: March 18, 2022
Handler: Holly Bradbury
Breed: Kleiner Münsterländer
Birthdate: April 20, 2022
Handlers: Kim & Brenda Veitch
EPCSAR IN THE NEWS
THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS
Air Force Academy Fire Department
American Medical Response
Baxter Smith & Shapiro, P.C.
Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado
Brookdale Vista Grande
Cascade Volunteer Fire Department
Central Bank & Trust
Cheyenne Mountain Propagation Company
Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery
Colorado Springs Fire Department
Colorado Springs Utilities
El Paso County Public Works
El Paso County Wildland Fire
ENT Credit Union
The Faricy Boys
Flight for Life Colorado
Green Mountain Falls/Chipeta Park Fire Department
Keg 1 Colorado, LLC
Manitou Springs Fire Department
McDivitt Law Firm
Modern Technology Solutions, Inc
Olsen Plumbing & Heating
Palmer Lake Fire Department
Penrose/St Francis Health Services
Peterson Space Force Base
Phil Long Dealerships
Pikes Peak National Bank
Schriever Space Force Base
Tri-Lakes Fire Department
United States Air Force Academy
Ute Pass Regional Ambulance District