News

Lightning-struck Longs Peak hiker says he'd do it again

Hike to the top of Longs Peak, that is. Presumably he could do without the lightning, though Brandon Baker is recovering nicely at St. Anthony's. The Minnesota man talked to his hometown Star-Tribune from the hospital and that story fills in some of the details missing from yesterday's initial reports. Baker was on his way back down from the summit on Tuesday afternoon when a thunderstorm rolled in. He took shelter under a rock ledge -- which, as it turns out, is not lightning-proof.

Baker was knocked unconscious by the blast and woke up the next morning, still under his rock ledge, with no idea what had happened. He staggered down the mountain until he met a camper who pointed out that he had a fist-sized head wound, and he was airlifted off the mountain at around 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

A traumatizing experience, without doubt, but Baker seemed in high spirits. "I would go right back up there tomorrow if my legs didn't feel bad," he told the Star-Tribune. "It's amazing once you get up there. You just don't understand until you get to the top of a 14,000-foot peak."

Still, maybe he should start a little earlier next time -- we hear the weather can really turn on you in the afternoon.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kiernan Maletsky is Westword's music editor. His writing has appeared in alt-weeklies around the country as well as Miley Cyrus's mom's Twitter feed.
Contact: Kiernan Maletsky