Denver-area man dies in fall while climbing the Crestone Traverse

A Denver-area man died in a fall while climbing the Crestone Traverse, and his fellow climber was rescued off of the mountain after the incident.

On Wednesday Custer County Search and Rescue responded to the fall, which happened at about 13,000 feet, according to a news release.

The climbing pair were off-route when the man fell. The other climber was able to reach him, but she then couldn’t ascend or descend safely from that point. She summoned help using a Garmin inReach, a satellite network device, and then further communicated with responders by using a cell phone.

At the time, threatening weather was moving into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the release said. A helicopter with the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Cañon Helitack, out of Cañon City, reached the climbers and was able to take them off the mountain. Saguache County Search and Rescue also responded to the incident.

“We send our deep condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of the deceased climber and his partner,” Custer County SAR said.

Crestone Peak is Colorado’s seventh highest mountain, and one of the most challenging 14ers to climb, according to summitpost.org.

Search and rescue officials urge climbers to adhere to “careful and precise route-finding” when climbing in the Crestone Group. Climbers are also urged to follow and check weather conditions and forecasts in the areas they’re climbing. Monsoon moisture has been setting up in the area this summer.

“With questionable weather conditions, choosing your route is important — in some cases, simply reversing direction is not possible,” the search and rescue group said. “This may mean an earlier start and a willingness to turn around if you aren’t moving fast enough to be off the peaks before weather moves in.”

Emergency responders recommend that climbers have two-way communication GPS devices, cell phones, and extra batteries and charging blocks; as well as leaving a detailed trip itinerary with someone who is not on the climb.

 

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