Glenwood climber dies on Bells |

Glenwood climber dies on Bells

John ColsonAspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

ASPEN Rescuers found the body of a Glenwood Springs man Friday in a steep scree field near the top of the north face of South Maroon Peak, 12 miles from Aspen.Peter Jessup, 27, was discovered below a hiking trail on the mountain, a rescuer said. He apparently fell, according to Pitkin County investigator Ron Ryan, who added that there was no information about whether Jessup was climbing alone or with others.Ryan said that from the information a Mountain Rescue Aspen team reported, all indications are that the fall killed Jessup. There was no sign of foul play, Ryan said.”There is no indication that this was anything other than an accident,” Ryan said.Because Jessup’s body was found in Gunnison County, the decision of whether to conduct an autopsy will be up to the Gunnison County Coroner’s Office, Ryan said. According to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, a group of climbers called the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office about 8:30 a.m. Friday to report they had spotted what appeared to be a woman lying in a scree field about 500 feet below the peak of South Maroon. South Maroon Peak is one of the two popular 14,000-foot peaks known as the Maroon Bells.

Although the body was in Gunnison County, rescuers from Aspen went out on the call because they were closer and already prepared. The team reached the scene about 2:20 p.m. and reported that it was a man who appeared to have died as a result of a fall.

Joe DiSalvo, Pitkin County undersheriff, said Friday morning that the reporting parties, who were not identified, had been out of cell phone range when they spotted the figure in the scree field, and had climbed for an hour before getting reception and calling authorities.A Summit County Life Guard helicopter airlifted Jessup’s body from South Maroon Peak around 4 p.m., according to Ryan.

Jessup was the immigrant community advocate for Catholic Charities, a faith-based, nonprofit agency that works in the Colorado River corridor and the Roaring Fork Valley to give assistance to transients and the poor.Jessup’s job was to interview immigrants, assess their situation and needs, provide them information and services available, refer them to other service providers and act as a mediator with others in the community.Bilingual and a trained mediator, Jessup acted as an interpreter in small claims court and other situations, and helped Catholic Charities achieve a 75 percent success rate in mediation cases, according to the agency’s director, Tom Ziemann. His work reportedly benefited not only immigrants who have cultural or language barriers to solving disputes with others, but employers, landlords and businesses who are on the other end of the disputes.

Jessup was a cancer survivor, whom Ziemann described as easygoing, yet hardworking and caring – someone who drew strength from his faith in God, and did his work “with a peaceful soul.”He was married to Alejandra Rico Jessup, an attorney and a Latino community liaison for the Roaring Fork School District.John Colson’s e-mail address is Glenwood Springs correspondent Dennis Webb contributed to this report.