NOLS leader dies in Wyoming climb
Aspen, CO Colorado
LANDER, Wyo. ” A man who died in a climbing accident over the weekend has been identified as Pete Absolon, the Rocky Mountain director of the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander.
Bruce Palmer, acting executive director of the leadership school, said Monday that Absolon, 47, had been the Rocky Mountain director of the school since May.
“Pete was the director of NOLS Rocky Mountain branch, which is the largest branch of NOLS, which operates from 14 locations worldwide,” Palmer said. He said Absolon started working at the school as an instructor in 1990.
Fremont County authorities say that the fatal accident occurred Saturday in the Leg Lake area of the Wind River Range west of Lander. A rock fell and struck Absolon while he was making a 700-foot rock climb.
“This is a great tragedy,” Palmer said. “Pete was a wonderful guy. He was passionate about teaching students, a super hard worker, and all-around a great guy.”
Palmer said Absolon leaves behind his wife, Molly, and a young daughter.
KOVE radio in Lander reported Monday that Absolon’s death was under investigation by the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and by the Fremont County coroner.
Ed McAuslan, Fremont County coroner, said Monday that Absolon was climbing with a companion when he was struck by a falling rock and died instantly.
McAuslan said Absolon’s climbing partner was unable to lower Absolon’s body. McAuslan said a team of park rangers from Teton County removed Absolon’s body Sunday using a helicopter.
McAuslan said other people in the area on Saturday used a cell phone to call 911. He said what caused the rock to fall and whether anyone else in the area had dislodged the rock was being investigated.
Absolon’s body was scheduled to undergo an autopsy Monday, McAuslan said.