Image by coloradoguy
Every year, people are injured and die in the high alpine as a result of lightning. In fact, Colorado leads the country in fatal alpine lightning storms and on average, 11 people die from lightning each year in the rocky mountain state alone. Whether trekking, climbing, or simply sightseeing above tree line, lightning can be a rare, deadly, and sometimes overlooked occurrence. This year, the season is off to a particularly violent start after a cloud to ground strike hit a group of hikers on Sunday morning on Mt. Bierstadt.
According to the Denver Post, the recent strike severely injured one man and killed one dog. The strike, which occurred at 11:30, hit while approximately 100 hikers were on the trail and getting close to the summit of the 14’er that lies to the southwest of Denver in Clear Creek County.
According to reports, three hikers were taken to the hospital, one of which sustained serious injuries. The two other hikers suffered non-life threatening injuries.
As of 5 PM on Sunday, the mountain was clear and all hikers were accounted for.
The Clear Creek County Sheriffs Office, Summit County Search and Rescue, and Alpine Rescue Team executed the rescue effort.