Missing Basalt cyclist found dead in Snowmass Creek
Crews recover body of 69-year-old man Sunday in Old Snowmass
Search and rescue crews found a missing cyclist dead in Snowmass Creek on Sunday morning after nearly 12 hours searching the Old Snowmass and Basalt area, according to a news release.
Gregory Smith, a 69-year-old Basalt resident, was reported overdue to the Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center around 10:17 p.m. Saturday. He was believed to be headed toward the Snowmass Creek Road area for a bicycle ride from his home in Basalt.
Basalt Police Department officers and Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office deputies spent several hours that evening and into the early morning searching for the man to no avail. Around 5:30 a.m. Sunday, officials contacted team leaders from Mountain Rescue Aspen to request a search; rescue personnel immediately responded and were in the field actively searching “all plausible options” around Old Snowmass and Basalt by 6:55 a.m.
Personnel located the cyclist deceased in the water in Snowmass Creek around 11:10 a.m. Sunday. The body was located less than half a mile up Snowmass Creek Road from Highway 82 in Old Snowmass. A total of 24 Mountain Rescue Aspen members were involved; crews searched in vehicles, on bicycles and on foot.
Mountain Rescue Aspen personnel teamed up with a Roaring Fork Fire Rescue swift-water rescue team to recover the body. Pitkin County investigators arrived on the scene and the coroner transported the man to Aspen Valley Hospital around 1:34 p.m. All rescue personnel were out of the field by 2 p.m.
The Pitkin County Coroner’s Office was in the process of contacting the next of kin as of Sunday afternoon, coroner Steve Ayers said.
Deputy coroner Audra Keith was assigned to the case, but the office was “very early” in the post-mortem process of determining the cause and manner of death, Ayers said.
Pitkin County Patrol Sergeant Levi Borst said there were “more questions than answers” about the incident in a phone call Sunday afternoon.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include the name of the cyclist. The Pitkin County Coroner’s Office identified the man as Basalt resident Gregory Smith, 69, in a news release sent Monday morning.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
A request by the corporate owners of three undeveloped parcels in Aspen Glen to remove a protective bald eagle buffer zone so they can be sold off and eventually built out will go to the Garfield County commissioners with a recommendation for approval.