Dear Friends and Supporters,

As the year ends, and we review our mission numbers and volunteer hours, we take pride in the lives we have saved and the individuals we have helped. However, what truly fills our hearts with pride is our team. Everything we do is only possible because of our team. We are not just a volunteer organization; we are a group of 70 individuals who have dedicated their knowledge, time, and passion to serving those in need. Without each and every one of our team members, we would not be able to achieve our mission. They are our family, and we are proud to stand together with them.

Last fall, we commemorated the remarkable achievement of one of our team members, Skee Hipszky, who has been volunteering with us for 50 years. Skee has been a member of our team almost since its inception and has contributed to thousands of missions that have saved countless lives over the years. We are honored to have Skee on our team and delighted to celebrate his 50 years of commitment, expertise, and selflessness.

In 2023, our team members volunteered over 18,000 hours for incident response, training, and other duties. Of the 220 rescue or search calls received, we responded to 126 incidents, accounting for nearly 6,000 of those hours.

Our missions would not be possible without support and assistance from our community. We work cooperatively with many other agencies 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, Monument Fire District, Palmer Lake Fire Department, UC Health LifeLine, Ute Pass Regional Ambulance District, and others.

As we have for the past 53 years, our team remains ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year, to bring individuals home to their loved ones, family, and friends. We are incredibly grateful for the support and assistance of our partner agencies and the residents, businesses, and visitors to our beautiful region, and we look forward to the service we will provide in 2024.

Jay Christianson
El Paso County Search and Rescue


Calls Received
Total Mission Hours
Volunteer Hours

Average Mission Time:
3 hours 41 minutes

Busiest Day of the Week:

Busiest Time of Day:
12:00 pm


We trust each of our 200-foot-long ropes to hold 750 pounds.


Each year, our members climb enough feet during missions to reach the summit of Everest multiple times.


An average of 140 carabiners are in the field during a single mission.


Our Candidate Member Class includes 104 hours of instruction.


Each member carries an average of 4,000 calories in their pack during every mission.



EPCSAR member Istvan "Skee" Hipszky celebrates 50 years as a team member. Skee joined EPCSAR in 1973 at just 18 years of age and has contributed to thousands of search and rescue missions since. In addition to his valuable contributions as a highly qualified Field Team Leader, he is also an EMT, drone pilot, mission coordinator, instructor, and deputy coroner. A retired life-support instructor, having taught CPR, ACLS, and pediatric care in hospitals throughout Colorado Springs, Skee has also helped to educate countless children and adults in El Paso County through Preventative Search and Rescue (PSAR) presenting educational lectures to schools, safety fairs, and other groups.

Skee's search and rescue journey began at 16 when he was climbing with a partner who fell from Windom Peak above Chicago Basin, sustaining a head injury. Skee and other climbers worked to bring the injured climber down the mountain and into a meadow where a helicopter could pick him up. From there, Skee was inspired to join search and rescue, donating countless hours and risking his own life to ensure others' safety.

Over the years, Skee has been part of several challenging missions. Some of these include a mission in 1995 in which Skee responded to an avalanche rescue on Pikes Peak. Four backcountry skiers triggered a slide on the east face of the mountain; Skee was flown to the summit to rescue the skiers, but a blizzard prevented the helicopter from coming back to fly him and the injured skiers out. Unable to quickly get off the mountain, Skee and the other rescuers dug trenches to help the skiers survive the blizzard. A year later, Skee performed CPR on an individual struck by lightning, saving his life. Years later, when a cadet fell off the face of Eagle Peak and was subsequently intubated by paramedics at the Air Force Academy, Skee was one of two people to perform a high-angle rescue of the patient, during which he provided breaths for the patient, ultimately saving the life of the cadet. This year, Skee was presented with the J. Hunter Holloway Spirit Award through the Colorado Search and Rescue Association for his 50 years of dedication to EPCSAR. 

EPCSAR is honored to have Skee as a member of the team and excited to celebrate his half-century of volunteerism, dedication, knowledge, and skills. Skee holds the record for the longest time on the team, and his influence continues to grow. Please help EPCSAR honor Skee and his contributions to our community and search and rescue family.


Last year, we participated in the Land Rover Defender Service Awards Competition with the hope of winning a new Land Rover. Although we didn't come in first place, we were still recognized and awarded a generous donation as the runners-up. This fall, Land Rover generously offered us another chance to win a new Land Rover Defender 130 to help us in our mission to save lives.

In the Honorees Category, we faced tough competition from 19 other organizations that had previously been runners-up. We received incredible support from the local community and throughout Colorado as we tried to earn the most votes. After the votes were counted, we were selected as one of the final two teams and ultimately awarded second place, along with a generous $15,000 grant from Land Rover. We are extremely grateful for the support we received from Land Rover Colorado Springs and the continued generosity of Land Rover through their Defender Service Awards.



Incident: Injured Hiker- Barr Trail

Dates: February 19, 2023

Duration: 2 Hours, 56 Minutes

Response: 33 Members





Private Donations:




Rescue Run:


Other Events:




On March 25th, at 1847, a call was received regarding an injured climber in Williams Canyon, near Cave of the Winds. Manitou Springs Fire Department was first on scene; however, due to the complexity of the terrain and the type of rescue needed, they called for assistance from EPCSAR and the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

Approximately a quarter-mile into Williams Canyon, the climber was found on a short cliff face with a broken leg. Due to the steep terrain and large boulders in the area where the climber was located, the team packaged the subject for a high-angle rescue and lowered him to the trail. After being lowered, the team performed a trail carry to an ambulance at the mouth of the canyon, and the climber then taken to additional medical care. One of the first full missions of the year, it was a great opportunity to work with some of our partner agencies and help an injured climber get safely to additional medical care.

After the mission, the injured climber recounted their experience to a local news station.



On May 27th at 1447, we received a call about two stranded hikers who were attempting to climb to the summit of Pikes Peak. Although the weather was warm in town, there was still a significant amount of snow and ice at higher elevations. The hikers were not dressed appropriately for winter conditions and after post-holing through thigh to waist-deep snow for some time, they found themselves unable to continue near 2 Mile. Given the amount of time the hikers had been exposed to the cold and snow, it was determined that it would take too long to get an evacuation team to them via road and trail. Flight for Life was contacted and was able to fly two team members to the stranded hikers' location.

Four additional team members rode the Cog Railway to the Mountain View stop and hiked to Barr Camp to be ready for an evacuation if needed. The team members flown in were able to assist the hikers in walking to the landing zone at 2 Mile. At 1812, the first hiker was picked up and transported to the hospital for additional care, and at 2021, the second hiker was picked up and flown to the hospital. The Flight for Life team then returned for the rescuers, and the team at Barr Camp hiked back to their vehicles.

Fortunately, the weather allowed for a rapid deployment of rescue teams who were able to get the hikers to medical care quickly, and help ensure a full recovery.




Rescue Litter
Quantity: 3
Total Cost: $5,100.00

Vacuum Mattress
Quantity: 1
Total Cost: $800.00

Avalanche Beacons
Quantity: 30
Total Cost: $11,700.00

Scarab Rescue Tool
Quantity: 12
Total Cost: $1,800.00


GPS w/ K9 Tracker
Quantity: 2
Total Cost: $2,200.00

Multifunction Weather Meter
Quantity: 2
Total Cost: $398.00


Quantity: 4
Total Cost: $1,400.00

UAV Batteries
Quantity: 6
Total Cost: $690.00

FLIR Drone
Quantity: 1
Total Cost: $18,800.00


In 2023, our K9 team members and their handlers fielded 22 missions in El Paso County and as mutual aid to other counties throughout the state. Missions included searches in high alpine conditions, through house-sized boulder fields, and across acres of dusty desert and dense woods. No matter the mission or the conditions, our four-legged teammates are always happy to lend a helping paw wherever and whenever.

Throughout the year, our K9-handler teams trained for over 200 hours each and received twelve new and renewed certifications. One of the training highlights of the year was the opportunity to work with UC Health Lifeline and Flight for Life Colorado to get all of our K9s comfortable with loading, unloading, and flying in helicopters. As we look to 2024, we are working to transition three more dogs to fieldable status and continue to grow the certifications for our current working members.

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Adams Bank & Trust

Air Force Academy Fire Department

American Medical Response

Baxter & Smith, P.C.

Blackhat Distillery

Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado

Carrabba's Italian Grill

Cascade Volunteer Fire Department

Cheyenne Mountain Propagation Company


Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery

Colorado Springs Commercial

Colorado Springs Fire Department

Colorado Springs Utilities

Crossfirst Bank

Cushman & Wakefield

El Paso County Public Works

El Paso County Wildland Fire

ENT Credit Union

Flight for Life Colorado

Friends of Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Fort Carson

General Air

Green Mountain Falls/Chipeta Park Fire Department

Groove Honda

Inspire Corporation


Keg 1 Colorado, LLC

Manitou Springs Fire Department

McDivitt Law Firm

Modern Technology Solutions, Inc

Monument Fire District

Mountain Equipment Recyclers


Olsen Plumbing & Heating

Palmer Lake Fire Department


Penrose/St Francis Health Services

Peterson Space Force Base

Phil Long Dealerships

Pikes Peak National Bank

Pizzaria Rustica

Red Noland Auto Group

Schriever Space Force Base

Security Service Federal Credit Union


Stanley Steemer

Tither Construction

UC Health LifeLine

United States Air Force Academy

Ute Pass Regional Ambulance District

Thank you for aiding us in our mission to save lives.

We look forward to serving our community in 2024.