Chopper rescues climbers in second Aspen Rescue search
July 24, 2012
ASPEN – A helicopter assisting Mountain Rescue Aspen in the recovery of one climber’s body Tuesday on North Maroon Peak wound up helping rescue two other stranded climbers, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
After reaching the summit of the peak at about 1:30 p.m. Monday, brothers Lonnie and Chris McCullough, of the Philadelphia area, wondered off trail while trying to avoid a thunderstorm. They wound up spending the night on a rock ledge, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The two were spotted by the crew in the helicopter at about 8 a.m. Tuesday. The chopper was working in the area as part of a different search, but was redirected when a friend of the McCulloughs reported them as overdue.
The helicopter pilot, with DBS Helicopters, was able to touch one of the aircraft’s skids close enough for the two climbers to climb aboard and be flown to the Maroon Lake parking lot. The brothers were uninjured.
The chopper was initially summoned to assist Mountain Rescue in the search for Leonard Joyner, a New York man who summited North Maroon Peak in a solo climb on July 19 and had been reported missing. His body was recovered Tuesday.
See Wednesday’s Aspen Times for more on the activities on North Maroon Peak.