Woman found dead after fall from North Maroon Peak’s north face is identified

Rei Hwa Lee, 57, from Littleton was found Tuesday at about 12,600 feet

A 57-year-old Littleton woman missing in the Maroon Bells area since Sunday was found dead Tuesday morning, an official said.

Rei Hwa Lee “fell to her death on the north face of North Maroon Peak” and was located about 11:15 a.m. by members of Mountain Rescue Aspen, according to a news release and Pitkin County Deputy Michael Buglione. Lee was hiking by herself, Buglione said.

MRA volunteers initially did not know exactly which peak Lee set off to climb, so teams searched a large area in the Maroon Bells Wilderness on Monday, according to the news release. However, several users on the website posted Monday evening that they’d seen Lee heading up North Maroon Peak.

That prompted four MRA teams and a Blackhawk helicopter with two MRA members aboard to focus on the North Maroon Peak area Tuesday, the release states. The helicopter team spotted Lee’s body “on the north face of North Maroon Peak at approximately 12,600 feet,” and was able to recover her body, according to the release.

“It’s unclear from where Lee fell or whether she summited the mountain,” the news release states.

Lee’s children told deputies she left her Littleton home at 1 a.m. Saturday and arrived at the Maroon Bells parking area at 5 a.m., the release states. They reported her missing Sunday evening when she didn’t return.

It is the second death in the Maroon Bells area this year. Jeffrey Bushroe, 27, who was a soldier at Fort Carson, was found dead May 27 by another hiker. The deputy coroner said Bushroe, of Tucson, Arizona, died from “hypothermia hours after a tumble he took in the Grand Couloir at the Maroon Bells secondary to confusion from a brain injury.”

Meanwhile, MRA crews and the Sheriff’s Office plan to try to recover the body of a 35-year-old Parker man who fell Sunday from the Knife Edge on Capitol Peak, Buglione said. The man’s name won’t be released until his body is recovered, he said.

The man’s death marks the second fatality on Capitol Peak this summer, after 25-year-old Jake Lord of Parker died climbing the mountain last month. Officials say Lord feel nearly 300 feet after a boulder came loose.