Hiker dies in fall at Crestone Needle | AspenTimes.com

Hiker dies in fall at Crestone Needle

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

WESTCLIFFE, Colo. ” The hiker who died after falling near the summit of a fourteener in the Sangre de Cristo range Saturday was an experienced 49-year-old climber from Divide.

Linda M. Pryor died Saturday after falling near the top of the 14,197-foot Crestone Needle in an area of treacherous ridges and steep grades.

Custer County coroner Art Nordyke said Pryor lost her handhold, doubled back and then slipped about 100 feet. He said Pryor’s climbing helmet was knocked off as she fell.

Custer County Search and Rescue officials climbed their way down to Pryor’s body Sunday morning and used ropes to lower it more than 400 yards down the mountain, reported The Gazette (Colorado Springs). The recovery took about six hours, the Gazette reported.

Pryor was climbing with five other people and the group had reached 13,500 feet before she fell.

Had the group reached the needle, they would have continued on to the 14,294-foot Crestone Peak, a climb which requires ropes and harnesses, said Tim Heckel of Colorado Springs, whose wife was in the climbing party.

“The whole group was experienced,” Heckel said. “They had all the equipment they would have needed, including equipment for the snow, which they would have encountered later (on the climb).”

The Crestone Needle ” one of the state’s 50-plus peaks over 14,000 feet ” is known for its striking rock face and sweeping views.