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Colorado Springs hiker to have feet, lower legs amputated after recent 14er trek

A husband and father of two children from Colorado Springs is being treated in a Denver-area hospital after he recently became lost and injured while hiking on of the state's 14,000-foot mountain peaks.

Nick Noland, apparently an experienced hiker, had his feet amputated and also will lose his legs below the knees after another surgery within the next week.
Noland is recovering at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora.

Noland was descending Mt. Shavano, near Salida in Chaffee County, on the evening of Oct. 22 when he became lost and couldn't be immediately found by search and rescue teams.

"At some point, my feet felt like blocks of ice," he said.  "My shoes came off.  I kept moving because I was afraid of what would happen if I stopped."

Teams eventually found Noland when he made it back to the trailhead at around 5 a.m. the following day.

"We are in for a long recovery but know with the support and love of our friends and family, we will get through this difficult time," said his wife, Maggie Noland, in a post on the website Meal Train.

Shane Leva, the manager at Mountain Chalet, an outfitters' shop in Colorado Spring, is an experienced hiker of 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado.

"Honestly, it's not too terribly surprising," he said of the incident.  "It's going to happen in Colorado at one point or another.  People go out and hike unprepared all the time out here.  It's still a mountain and it's very serious, so you need to take it with the gravity that it deserves."

Dr. Ian Tullberg, of UCHealth Urgent Care, explained how to prevent frostbite if you're in a remote area during cold weather.

"Honestly, one of the best things is putting your fingers down right by your belly and then into the pants a little bit, because that's a very warm spot for your fingers," he said.  "There's not a lot you can do about your toes, unfortunately.  But there are some areas.  You can put them right under your arms, as well."

As of Friday evening, more than $13,000 in donations to the site had been made for the Noland family, and the website also has arranged for the family's meals through most of November.

Noland gave an interview from his hospital bed via Skype, but hospital officials said Friday that he will not give further interviews until sometime next week, before his expected release from the hospital.

"I have every intention of getting back out there," he said.

Local News / News

Scott Harrison

Comments

2 Comments

  1. Nick Noland, apparently an experienced hiker, had his feet amputated and also will lose his legs below the knees after another surgery within the next week.

    This sentence is a contradiction of itself… Why would an experienced hiker have to have his legs and feet amputated below the knee. An experienced hiker would have been prepared for hiking in Colorado at the elevation 14,000 ft, would have had all of the necessary equipment and supplies to not be in this situation. This is not a sign of experience, this is a sign of bad decisions and overconfidence. Luckily enough, no one else suffered for his foolish actions.

  2. Posted by a human who clearly never hiked further than a campground shower.
    As a fellow human that hikes hundreds of miles alone every year, thanks for making me smile.

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