Aspen rescuers aid Maroon Bells climber
August 2, 2009
ASPEN – Aspen rescuers helped a 17-year-old climber off a ledge in the Maroon Bells area Friday after the individual activated an emergency-locating beacon.
The Aspen-Pitkin County dispatcher was notified Friday by the International Emergency Response Coordination Center that the beacon had been activated. GPS coordinates put the beacon in the vicinity of the Maroon Bells, two fourteeners about 12 miles southwest of Aspen. North and South Maroon peaks are separated by about a third of a mile.
Mountain Rescue Aspen was notified and began monitoring the location of the beacon; it was not moving, according to a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office press release about the incident, issued Saturday afternoon.
A helicopter was used to help locate the hiker, who was stuck on a ledge; the chopper then dropped Mountain Rescue members below the subject. The rescue team had a difficult and technical climb up to the climber, according to the sheriff’s office. The team belayed the individual down from the ledge and assisted him in walking out to the trailhead.
The teen, whose name was not released in the press release, had fallen and slid several hundred feet. During his fall, the beacon broke off its harness and fell several hundred feet farther; he had to retrieve it to activate it. The other member of his climbing party found a safe route down and was met by rescuers on the trail, according to the sheriff’s office.