Missing climber located near Capitol Peak | AspenTimes.com
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Missing climber located near Capitol Peak

Staff report

A search team found two climbers in the area of Capitol Peak on Tuesday night after one of the climbers called for help.

On Monday night, Joel Kuenning of Lakewood and Kieffer Thomas of Estes Park camped near Capitol Peak, located in the Elk Mountains near Aspen. On Tuesday morning, the two men climbed to a saddle between Capitol Peak and Mount Daly, a lesser peak to the north, according to a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office statement. The pair separated at the saddle, with Kuenning beginning the ascent of Capitol, and Thomas beginning the ascent of Mount Daly. When Thomas returned to the saddle some nine hours later there was no sign of Kuenning. With very limited cellphone service Thomas was able to contact the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office around 5:30 p.m. and ask for help.

At approximately 6 p.m. volunteer rescuers from Mountain Rescue Aspen began coordinating search efforts on behalf of the missing climber. A fixed-wing aircraft piloted by Bruce Gordon of Aspen and a helicopter from Flight for Life in Denver were dispatched to the area for an aerial search to help determine the location of the missing climber.

Both men were located by searchers at approximately 8 p.m. All rescuers were safely clear of the field by approximately 10 p.m.


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