Denver woman hiking Capitol Peak dies after fall

The 14,130-foot Capitol Peak is in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area and is part of the White River National Forest.
File photo

A Denver woman died Saturday after falling 900 feet below the summit of Capitol Peak in the Pierre Lakes Basin, according to a news release from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

The woman was hiking solo and fell after a rock she was trying to hold onto gave way, according to a witness to the fall who called the dispatch shortly before 8 a.m. to report the incident. The Pitkin County Coroner’s Office did not release his name until his next of kin were notified.

The sheriff’s office then informed Mountain Rescue Aspen of the situation, and the witness was able to provide MRA with the exact location of the woman’s body. She was then estimated to have fallen about 900 feet from the road that runs from Knife’s Edge at the top of Capitol Peak to the Pierre Lakes Basin.



A recovery mission was planned at the CB Cameron Rescue Center. Helicopters from Flight For Life Colorado and Montrose Helitack from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control assisted MRA in the mission. An EcoFlight aircraft was also used to survey the landscape during the early planning stages, the press release said.

A team of two MRA volunteers were airlifted to K2, a nearby 13,664ft peak, to establish radio communications, assess safety and close the hiking trail, according to the new statement. A team of four MRA volunteers were airlifted into the Pierre Lakes Basin, then walked to the woman’s body and prepared it for extraction from the field.



At 2:47 p.m., the woman’s body was airlifted from the Pierre Lakes Basin to Cow Camp, about 7 miles from Capitol Creek Road, and turned over to the Pitkin County Coroner for further investigation.

All personnel were off the field at 3:54 p.m. A total of 25 volunteers from Mountain Rescue Aspen, two Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputies, a Pitkin County Deputy Coroner and flight crews from Flight For Life Colorado, Montrose Helitack and EcoFlight participated in the recovery operation. , according to the press release.

Carol N. Valencia