Fall injures climber on Pyramid Peak
November 10, 2007
ASPEN ” A 23-year-old man sustained injuries to his head and hip early Saturday when he dislodged a boulder on Pyramid Peak and tumbled nearly 60 feet.
Andy McClure of Center, Colo. sustained injuries in a fall from about 13,000 feet on Pyramid’s northwest ridge ” roughly 1,000 feet from the summit ” according to a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office news release. A Frisco-based Flight for Life helicopter airlifted McClure from off the side of the peak to Aspen Valley Hospital around 5 p.m.
McClure was attempting to summit Pyramid, a fourteener near Aspen, with climbing partner Ian Noel, of Colorado Springs, when, at approximately 10 a.m., he fell and a boulder struck him, according to the news release. McClure could not walk, so Noel helped him descend approximately 30 feet to more stable ground before leaving to find help. He reached Aspen around noon.
Ten members of Mountain Rescue Aspen were immediately dispatched, according to the release. A total of eight were inserted into an area known as the Amphitheatre, around 11,900 feet, to aid in the rescue effort. Helicopter pilot John Peterson contended with shifting winds and low-lying clouds, complicating the rescue effort.
The first ground team located McClure around 2:10 p.m., according to Mountain Rescue Aspen officials. While McClure’s pulse and respiration were normal, he had three lacerations on his head and complained of pain in his left hip and tailbone.
Rescuers packaged McClure around 4:15 p.m., and the descent down an area of steep, uneven terrain began. At 4:40 p.m., the staging area near Maroon Lake where the helicopter idled was informed that the group was approaching the Amphitheatre. Peterson and EMT Winston Merrill took off into the alpenglow soon after.
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McClure was airlifted off Pyramid shortly before nightfall after a nearly seven-hour ordeal.