New Mexico climber remains missing |

New Mexico climber remains missing

A 49-year-old Albuquerque man who set out to climb the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak earlier this week remained missing Friday after weather hampered search efforts, officials said.

The search for David Cook was called off Friday because of weather conditions, though officials planned to resume looking today provided the weather improves, said Deputy Alex Burchetta of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

Cook, a former marine, was described as an expert mountaineer who was climbing by himself, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office. He planned to climb Pyramid Peak on Monday and then climb South Maroon and North Maroon Peaks on Tuesday, the statement says.

A woman called authorities Tuesday night when she hadn’t yet heard from Cook. Volunteers from Mountain Rescue Aspen located Cook’s car about noon Wednesday and found a receipt inside indicating he arrived at the Maroon Bells entrance station about 11 a.m. Monday, according to the statement.

Based on that information and the possibility that Cook’s climbing plans might have been delayed because of his late arrival, Mountain Rescue officials decided not to immediately initiate a search, according to the statement.

On Thursday morning, however, a helicopter from Grand Junction and another from Gypsum were deployed to search for Cook. High winds forced one of the helicopters to fly home, though the other was able to search the areas around North and South Maroon peaks as well as Pyramid Peak until about 4 p.m. but did not find Cook, according to the statement.

Burchetta said he planned to meet with Cook’s family Friday night.

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