Search for overdue Maroon Bells climber to resume Saturday

Jason Auslander, The Aspen Times
The Maroon Bells just before sunrise on Friday, Sept. 23.
Photo by Lauren Glendenning/The Aspen Times

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. Another statement released Friday night said the search is expected to resume on Saturday, weather permitting.


Professional dancers return to Aspen to perform in ‘The Nutcracker’

Roaring Fork Valley natives Emily Ridings and Nikki Ferry have come full circle when it comes to dance. Both studied dance with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (ASFB) as kids, continued their training with other prominent schools, and now return this weekend, as ASFB presents “The Nutcracker” at Aspen District Theater.

See more