Capitol Peak claims second victim of summer | PostIndependent.com

Capitol Peak claims second victim of summer

Staff Report
In a 2015 photo, skiers approach the summit of Capitol Peak.
Aspen Times file photo

Capitol Peak, west of Aspen, on Sunday recorded its second climber death of the summer.

Pitkin County authorities said a hiker climbing the northernmost of the Elk Range’s 14,000-foot mountains called the county dispatch center at approximately 8:20 a.m. He reported that a hiker in a group in front his was about to cross the “knife’s edge” on Capitol and fell off the east side.

A deputy with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office met with members from Mountain Rescue Aspen to start a rescue mission.

Members of the all-volunteer MRA gathered hiked into the area as well as being dropped into the field by a helicopter from Summit County.

The team inserted by helicopter was able to determine that the hiker had fatal injuries. Due to the precarious area of the fall, it was decided that a recovery mission would have to be postponed until the weather is better, possibly Wednesday morning.

The name of the hiker is being withheld pending notification to his family.

In July, 25-year-old Jake Lord of Parker died after falling 50 to 100 meters while hiking Capitol.

The book “Colorado’s Fourteeners” says Capitol Peak “has been called Colorado’s hardest fourteener. Many dispute that claim, but Capitol is certainly one of the hardest,” the book says.

“Capitol’s fame as a difficult peak is largely because of the northeast ridge’s spectacular knife-edge,” the book says, referring to the location of Sunday’s fall.

Lord’s death less than a month ago was the fourth fatal incident on a fourteener in Colorado this year, the Summit Daily reported, so Sunday’s death makes the 2017 toll at least five.