Dog Rescued from the Face of Torreys Peak

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CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A dog is now reunited with its owners after falling off the east face of the popular 14er Torreys Peak over the weekend.

FOX31 spoke with one of the Alpine Rescue Team members who climbed the summit on Sunday to rescue the dog from a 1,500-foot part of the steep mountainside.

“We got the call initially around 1 o’clock p.m. and it was for a dog that had gone off the edge,” said Jacob Smith, spokesperson for Alpine Rescue Team.

“The owners weren’t exactly sure where it had gone. They knew that it was on the east face, which is very sheer,” Smith added.

A total of 26 Alpine Rescue Team members responded to the call. A team of seven went up the summer trailhead to get a visual and assess the situation. Smith said it took 45 minutes to get a visual of the dog on the snow-capped mountain.

“So we knew that the dog was there, and thankfully, as we were looking up and down, we were seeing movement,” Smith said. “So that gave us the information that we needed to get up there and get the rescue going.”

The seven team members then climbed to the summit and performed a technical rescue at the top of the 1,500-foot South Paw couloir.

“The terrain that the dog was in was pretty consequential,” Smith said. “As we were assessing our options, we decided that the best route would be to use the rocks just to the right of the couloir to send a rescuer down on a rope, use another rope to keep them from swinging around and have them basically traverse across the top of the cooler to get the dog.”

Fortunately, Smith said, Zola the dog was sitting patiently and waiting for rescuers, listening to their commands in the midst of chaos.

“We did have to go up 20 to 30 feet in vertical terrain, so what we ended up doing was taking the bag from something called the vacuum splint, which is something that we use with humans, that ended up being just the right size for her,” he said. “We were able to get her in the bag, zipper it all the way up, attached to the rescuer, and brought them both up together.”

From the side of the mountain, they embarked on a two-and-a-half-hour hike down to the trailhead.

“And she didn’t make a peep,” Smith said of the dog. “She was just snug as a bug in a backpack waiting for us to get out.”

Smith said Zola had some abrasions, but for all she had been through, she was in very good shape.

The team said reuniting Zola with her owners was a significant moment, making their volunteer work all the more special.

“It was very emotional for them. It was really awesome for us to get to see,” he said. “They didn’t know initially if the dog had even survived. So as we were going through the stages of the rescue, when they found out that the dog was alive and that we were going to continue on, they were, you know, shedding tears of joy.”

During these popular hiking months, Smith suggests hikers and pet owners be prepared for the terrain they are embarking on.

“This 14er right now still has considerable snow pack on it, so the route up, we were on pretty steep snow,” he said. “Also, I think when it comes to dogs specifically, you know, it’s best to keep them on a leash.”

Alpine Rescue Team encourages anyone in trouble to call 911 or reach out for help. Their rescues are free to those who need assistance.

“Everything that we do is free of charge, so if you are ever in a situation and you think maybe you need search and rescue, I would say err on the side of calling for help, and maybe we stand down because you don’t actually need us, but at least we’re there,” Smith said.

Source: WFLA

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