On Sunday, Colorado search and rescue teams responded to a call regarding a stranded climber on Capitol Peak, one of the state’s acclaimed 14er mountains. The accident was one of two calls that emergency teams responded to last weekend. Thankfully, though, in this climber’s case, the rescue attempt was successful.
Initially, the climber went off-route along the popular mountain and ended up stranded without cell service or any food. He had planned on summitting the treacherous peak but had “cliffed out,” meaning he had reached a point in the climb where he couldn’t safely travel up or down.
Capitol Peak is a notoriously difficult mountain climbing route, and in fact, the peak is one of the hardest of the 14,000-footers in Colorado. Typically, an experienced climber can complete the route in nine to 10 hours. However, if the person is unprepared, conditions can rapidly turn dangerous, especially since the route has lots of crumbling rocks and unstable footing along the way.
According to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, the Mountain Rescue Aspen (MRA) “deployed foot teams to the area.”
“MRA also deployed a reconnaissance flight to attempt to locate the climber, which was not successful,” the report stated. “A Blackhawk helicopter from the US Army National Guard also searched the area with MRA, which was ultimately able to make contact with the climber in distress at approximately 5:13pm.”
The Sheriff’s Office also disclosed that the climber “was in physical distress, dehydrated and out of food, and was not properly equipped for the terrain in which he found himself.”
MRA finally evacuated the stranded climber via helicopter by 6:30 p.m. Authorities made no mention of any other climbers accompanying the unnamed man.
Another Hiker Dies After Falling 900 Feet From Same Colorado Mountain
Unfortunately, the unnamed climber was not the only one to suffer the mountain’s wrath this past weekend. Just one day before, on September 3, rescue teams responded to another emergency call regarding a climber. This time, though, the woman fell 900 feet to her death from Capitol Peak.
Similar to the recent rescue, the woman was traveling alone along the trail. Sadly, the woman tried to grab onto a handhold that ended up being unstable and she fell off the cliffside. At the time, another hiking group saw the incident and immediately reported the sighting to authorities.
Responding officers temporarily shut down the trail and found the woman’s body from Pierre Lakes Basin.
The two deaths are just a couple of the tragic deaths that have occurred on the Colorado mountain.
Regarding the recent accidents, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office reminded backcountry enthusiasts that “the Elk Mountains are treacherous. And that the loose, rotting terrain can lead to unstable conditions that can cause serious injuries or death.”