Aspen climbing victim an avid mountaineer, family man
September 14, 2011
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. – When David Morano, 41, fell 200 feet to his death off Thunder Pyramid Peak near Aspen on Saturday, he was doing everything right, said his wife, Dr. Adele Morano.
“He was an accountant … everything was by the books with him,” said the family doctor who works at High Country Health Care. She added that he was wearing a helmet, had a mountaineering partner and wasn’t using a rope because the climb didn’t require it. Having a rope could have thrown more rocks loose, she said.
“He died doing something he loved doing. He was a meticulous climber. He was doing all the right stuff, and this is a fluke accident. It was bad rock and a piece let loose and he must have stumbled and fallen from the loose rock,” she said. Adele said David’s climbing partner, their neighbor, made attempts to resuscitate him before down-climbing to notify emergency personnel.
Pitkin County recovery crews will try Wednesday to recover David Morano’s body. Mountain Rescue Aspen says crews will attempt the recovery using a helicopter and longer ropes than normally used in such operations, because of the steep, rugged terrain.
The Morano family, which includes 8-year-old Alex, did everything together, Adele said. She and David had been married 17 years.
They hiked, they rock climbed, they camped, they biked – and they were accomplished. Alex has already summitted 13 of the top 200 highest peaks in Colorado.
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Adele and David trained together at the Boulder Mountaineering School 13 years ago. They’ve climbed extensively together, and Adele said it’s always a chance for the family to spend quality time together – often in places that don’t see much human traffic.
“Thirteeners are gorgeous, they’re just harder to do,” she said, explaining that they often require bushwacking, traversing across loose rock, and finding routes where no established trail exists.
David had bagged 129 of the top 200 Colorado peaks on his quest to complete them all when he took his fatal fall. He’d completed all 54 fourteeners and had summited many of the top 100 mountains. Thunder Pyramid Peak, at 13,932 feet, is among the top 100.
“He’s a great father, a great husband,” she said. “He was my best friend who I’m going to miss a lot.”
She added that Alex sums up his feelings in short, “He’s going to miss his dad.”
They’re not the only ones who will miss David. He worked as a CPA for Avon’s McMann and Associates, working a lot from home to help raise Alex. He provided financial assistance to High Country Health Care.
“I feel so sorry for my friend,” Adele’s colleague Dr. Elizabeth Winfield said. “Everybody of course is terribly sad because Dave was a very valuable advisor to us as well as being a spouse to one of our partners.”
Winfield added that David was an engaging person, a “super-duper” dad, clearly very passionate about his climbing and was best friends with Adele.
“He and Adele were absolute best buds forever … Half their life, they did everything together,” Winfield said. “He’s of course going to be terribly missed.”