Body of ice climber retrieved near Redstone | AspenTimes.com

Body of ice climber retrieved near Redstone

Ryan Summerlin
rsummerlin@postindependent.com

Rescue crews, friends and family on Thursday successfully retrieved the body of an ice climber who apparently fell to his death the day before.

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said that at 12:28 p.m. the man's body was returned to the trailhead area near Redstone. The man, whose identity has not been released, was climbing on Wednesday near the popular Redstone Slab area.

Authorities decided to wait until light Thursday to retrieve the man's body, expecting the grim task to take four to five hours. At approximately 6:15 a.m. Thursday, members of Mountain Rescue Aspen and a friend of the climber who found the man's body Wednesday set out on the recovery effort.

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that it received a call at about 12:30 p.m. that the climber was missing. The caller said that the man, who was in his 40s, went ice climbing at about 4:30 a.m., and had not returned.

Members of Mountain Rescue Aspen, Carbondale Fire and Rescue, and deputies from the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office were involved in the search Wednesday.

When emergency personnel arrived, they were notified that the friend of the climber who was familiar with the area had hiked in to try and find the missing man. The friend told emergency workers soon after that he had found the man and that an ice pillar that apparently had supported the climber broke loose, resulting in a fall.

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The climber, who was alone at the time of the incident, fell from a unknown height and suffered severe trauma, authorities said.

He was dead when rescuers arrived.

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office and the Pitkin County Coroner's Office will conduct a complete investigation of the area. The body was turned over to the coroner's office, which is expected to release the man's identity.

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