Hiker killed on S’mass Mountain | AspenTimes.com

Hiker killed on S’mass Mountain

The body of a climber from Arvada was recovered Monday from a chute on the west side of Snowmass Mountain, where he landed after apparently falling more than 1,000 feet.Mark Golden, 32, was reported missing by his hiking companion on Saturday evening. His body was found around 4 p.m. Sunday. The recovery mission, which initially began as a rescue attempt, was an extremely technical one as Golden’s body was found on a ledge at about 11,000 feet above Little Gem Lake.”The body was in a precarious position and nonresponsive to the rescuers’ attempts to make verbal contact,” says a press release from the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office. “The recovery group was only able to safely approach within several hundred feet.”The release says that due to the forbidding terrain, experienced mountaineers using technical equipment were needed to approach the body. Snowmass Mountain is divided by the Pitkin/Gunnison county line, and while the site was technically in Gunnison County, Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis said he agreed to provide help from his office and from Mountain Rescue Aspen.”The teams carried the body through the snow and scree fields to below the snow line, at which point the teams were met by team members on horseback,” Braudis said.He said of the 31 people from various agencies in Pitkin and Gunnison counties, 16 were from Mountain Rescue Aspen.Recovery personnel who reached the body the following day discovered “obvious catastrophic trauma consistent with a fall” and estimated that Golden fell 1,200 to 1,500 feet before coming to rest in a snowfield.Evidence at the top of Snowmass Mountain indicates he had successfully reached the summit and may have been seeking a shortcut while descending when the fall occurred.Little Gem Lake is due west of Snowmass Peak, one of the state’s mountain peaks above 14,000 feet at 14,092 feet. Golden had been expected to return to the Geneva Lake area to meet his hiking partner at the trailhead on Saturday.Six agencies participated in the rescue and recovery mission, including the Carbondale Fire Department.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.

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