Climber dies descending north face of Capitol Peak

By Real Aspen
Real AspenJuly 20, 2013
A climber was killed by a fall Friday while descending the treacherous north face of 14,130-foot Capitol Peak near Aspen, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

The climber, who officials say will be identified Sunday by the coroner's office after being recovered by sheriff's deputies and Mountain Rescue Aspen, decided not to return from the summit via the traditional Knife Edge Ridge route.

His climbing partners took the ridge and could see the man descending via the north face. However, when they returned to camp he did not show up -- leading them to call the sheriff's office at about 7 p.m. Friday.

Here's the full sheriff's office press release:

Capitol Peak near Aspen.

Pitkin County, Colorado – July 20, 2013 – On July 19th 2013 at around 7:00 p.m. the Pitkin County Sheriff’s office received the report of an overdue climber on Capitol Peak. Climbing partners stated that the overdue hiker attempted to climb down the north face of Capitol Peak rather than cross the knife edge again. The climbing partners continued on the route across the knife edge. The climbing partners could still see the overdue subject as he worked his way down the north face. After waiting for him at camp they decided to come on out and report him overdue.

On July 20th 2013 Mountain Rescue Aspen sent an airplane over head with spotters to look for the missing climber. They were unable to locate anything but determined which areas were most probable for the missing climber to be in. Mountain Rescue Aspen sent foot teams into the field. Two teams took the 2 separate trails up to the Capitol Lake. The Teams then split up and one team climbed up to the base of the north face while the other interviewed other climbers.

At around 2:10 p.m. a team located a body matching the description of the overdue climber at the base of the north face. The name of the climber will be released by the Pitkin County Coroner’s office upon notification of next of kin. The body will have to remain on scene until July 21, 2013 when it will be removed from the field.

There were 11 volunteers from Mountain Rescue Aspen and 3 Pitkin County Deputies involved in the incident.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all of the volunteers at Mountain Rescue Aspen for their hard work and contribution to the people of this and other communities.

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