A Mountain Rescue Aspen team walking out of the backcountry near Pyramid Peak found a missing Denver man alive and in good condition Tuesday afternoon, an official said.
The team came upon Neil Brosseau, 66, about 3:50 p.m. and recognized him as the man MRA spent more than 48 hours searching for, said Alex Burchetta, director of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
“He seems to be doing just fine,” Burchetta said.
A sheriff’s deputy was en route to pick up Brosseau and transport him to the MRA headquarters on Highway 82 near Aspen’s airport to debrief him, Burchetta said. Details about what happened and how he got lost were not immediately available.
Chris Brosseau, the missing man’s nephew, said Tuesday afternoon he and his family were “overjoyed” that his uncle was found alive and well. He hadn’t yet spoken to his uncle yet, but said he heard Neil Brosseau spent Sunday night alone then was helped by hunters, who gave him food, Monday night.
Chris Brosseau said he was hiking with his uncle and his wife Sunday afternoon and was the last person to see him on the saddle at about 13,000 feet that connects the northeast summit ridge to the Pyramid Peak summit.
“I was about 300 feet below him screaming my head off and waving my arms,” Chris Brosseau said. “But he turned away and started walking back up the trail.”
He said he doesn’t know yet what happened, but plans to find out.
“He will be getting a lecture from me,” Chris Brosseau said. “But we’re good.”
A medical helicopter out of Grand Junction ferried the MRA searchers to a spot near the amphitheater below Pyramid’s north face about 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, Burchetta said. Officials also used a drone Tuesday to target specific areas of the mountain in the search for Brosseau, Burchetta said.
Brosseau was first reported missing late Sunday afternoon or early evening, though MRA volunteers did not head into the field until Monday morning, Burchetta said. MRA and the Sheriff’s Office do not undertake nighttime missions unless there’s a confirmed need, such as an injury, he said.
No one had seen Brosseau, said to be an experienced climber, since about 2 p.m. Sunday.
Pyramid Peak is about 12 miles southwest of Aspen. The Pyramid Peak trail on the northeast ridge is about 8 miles round trip from the trailhead at Maroon Lake, according to website 14ers.com. The last 1,000 feet to the summit requires “Class 3 and 4 climbing and careful route-finding,” according to the website, and the “remaining 500 feet to the summit is complex.”
Voluntary separation among climbing parties is the leading cause of MRA-led searches in the backcountry, Burchetta said.
This is a developing story that will be updated.