Routt County A 58-year-old Iowa man with a previous back injury had to be slowly wheeled out of the wilderness southeast of Floyd Peak Monday evening by a search and rescue team.
Jim Waterhouse had to be rescued by the Routt County team when he injured his back the day before horseback riding, said Mark Steur, the incident commander for the team.
Waterhouse noticed the back pain when he woke up in his tent Monday morning.
On Sunday, the hunter had made a more than two-hour horseback ride on Forest Service Trail 471A, which is about two hours east of Clark, Routt County Sheriff John Warner said.
The man, using a cellular phone, called authorities to report the back injury, and he needed help about 11:30 a.m. Monday, Warner said.
A 12-member rescue team was dispatched to the area and got to the Big Creek area about 12:30 p.m.
The rescue team then made its way through the rocky trail to get to Waterhouse. At about 3 p.m., the team found the hunter lying in his tent.
"He tried to get into a comfortable position in his tent," Steur said. "The injury was pretty painful for him."
Once the team members reached the man, they assessed the situation to determine the best way to get him out of the area, which included bringing in a helicopter, he said.
The team decided against the helicopter and decided to move the man by hand with a "one-wheeled stoke," Steur said.
The team placed the man in an air splint, which stabilized his entire body from moving, and proceeded to move the man out of the wilderness, Steur said.
Due to the man's injury, the rescuers were careful with every step they took.
"We had to be careful bringing out someone with a back injury," he said. "We probably averaged a mile an hour."
The rescuers were able to get the man to a waiting ambulance about 8:30 p.m.
"It has been a long extrication," Steur said from his cellular phone. "There is pretty rough terrain up here."
The man was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center, where he was to be treated for the injury.
The man has a history of back pain, Steur said.
"About three and one-half years ago, the man injured his back when he was in a car accident," he said. "He has titanium rods in his back."
After getting the man out of the rocky area, the rescue team packed up its gear and returned to Steamboat Springs, where members arrived about 10:30 p.m.
"It was a long day," he said. "It was a long day for everybody."
To reach Gary E. Salazar call 871-4205 or e-mail email@example.com