Firefighters in Colorado Springs braved dangerously cold temperatures over the weekend to rescue a hiker who had become stranded on a rocky ledge in the backcountry, fire officials said.
The rescue operation was launched just before 7 a.m. Saturday after the hiker reported that he was stuck on the steep terrain and unable to move in North Cheyenne Canyon, the Colorado Springs Fire Department said.
The temperature at the time was about 2 degrees, KKTV reported.
Crews were able to pinpoint the hiker’s position using a drone and sent a high angle rope rescue team to hike to his location.
Rescuers set up a rope system and lowered the hiker down the side of the rocky ledge. The rescue operation lasted about two hours.
The hiker was treated at a hospital for injuries to his lower extremities and frostbite. Some firefighters involved in the rescue also suffered from cold exposure and were warmed and hydrated on scene, officials said.
Fire officials warned the public to stay warm and indoors while temperatures in the area remained “dangerously low” over the next few days.
“It is not safe to be outside walking, hiking or biking,” Lt. Jamie Gutschick said in a video message. “It is best to stay indoors over the next few days.”
Gutschick also said that individuals who ventured outdoors unprepared weren’t just putting themselves at risk, but also the firefighters who would have to come to their rescue.
An arctic front is expected to chill the Colorado Springs area through Tuesday with temperatures barely going above 0 and wind chills making it feel subzero, local news outlets reported.