Mom, Four Kids Rescued from Slopes of Colorado Peak

June 24--A mother and four children got lost in a Monday downpour on the slopes of Blodgett Peak, prompting a six-hour rescue effort that left the family soaked but unscathed.

It was one of several Colorado Springs emergencies that had firefighters scrambling as a thunderstorm passed over the city.

"We had four significant incidents all occur within about a 30 minute time frame today," said Colorado Springs Fire Department spokesman Captain Steven Oswald.

Around the same time rescuers were tracking down lost hikers, a 17-year-old rock climber fell 40 feet at Garden of the Gods park, a 7-car accident including two semi-trucks closed down southbound lanes of Interstate 25 near Woodmen Road, and a gas line was hit on Horseshoe Road on the east side.

"It's extremely rare we go past 2 major incidents going on at the same time," said Oswald.

Four firefighters, along with two El Paso County Search and Rescue teams, located the mother and her four kids, ages 6,7,11 and 12.

The group had climbed up about three-quarters of the way up the peak, which is located off Woodmen Road in an area with small patches of trees blackened in the Waldo Canyon fire.

When the rain hit, the family made a "mad dash for cover" but in the process, got lost, said Search and Rescue incident commander Brian Kinsey.

After more than two hours of searching and communicating with the group by cell phone, rescuers found the hikers near a chimney-shaped rock on the mountain.

Rescuers secured the hikers with ropes, and began their descent down wet, rocky terrain. As the showers continued, rescue teams hunkered down and set up lean-tos for themselves and the hikers until the showers subsided, Oswald said. The hikers also did not have jackets, he said.

"As we know our Colorado weather changes drastically in a rapid time frame, and if you're going to be out in Colorado weather, you have to be prepared," he said. "Sometimes here, when it's close to the city, it's easy to get out and hike quickly, and then you forget that you're still in the Colorado mountains."

"Today's rescue was one of those days where we've had bands of rain come through, and lightning, which makes it very difficult and dangerous for both rescuers and those lost hikers," he said.

Chances of rain are in the forecast for the region until at least Wednesday. A high of 79, a low of 53is expected for Tuesday, National Weather Service forecasters predict. "(Tuesday) looks like a repeat of today," said Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Mozley.

Copyright 2014 - The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

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