On Saturday June 19, Saguache County Search and Rescue was activated for a mountaineer that had fallen while climbing Pico Aislado in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains southeast of Crestone, CO. The caller reported his climbing partner had fallen several hundred feet from the summit ridge down the near vertical east face.
Flight for Life Colorado Helicopter Lifeguard 4 with one member of Saguache SAR aboard scouted the area of the accident, but was unable to locate the subject or insert rescue teams due to high wind and unfavorable conditions.
Ground teams comprised of Saguache SAR, Alamosa Volunteer SAR and Baca Grande Fire/EMS began hiking to the location at midnight Sunday, June 20. Teams from Western Mtn. Rescue and Chaffee County SAR South were inserted by Flight for Life Colorado at dawn. The combined ground teams located the body of the climber where it had come to rest and determined the location exceeded the skill and technical equipment on hand to attempt a recovery at that time. After completing scene documentation and protecting the climber’s body from the elements all teams hiked out of the field. An advanced technical rescue team was activated to perform the recovery.
On Monday a combined team from Alpine Rescue Team and Saguache SAR were inserted by Reach Air Medical Services Helicopter Reach 29 into the area and climbed to the accident site. The combined team was successful in recovering the climber’s remains. The subject was lowered approximately 1000 vertical feet and carried down 1/2 mile to a landing zone. Reach 29 flew out the subject and transferred the remains to the Saguache County Coroner.
Our deepest condolences to the subject’s family and friends. This mission is a somber reminder of the objective dangers of mountaineering and the arduous difficulties in responding to this type of call.
We can’t thank our volunteers and mutual aid partners enough for their efforts on this mission.
Thank you to all who participated:
Saguache County Search & Rescue
Saguache County Sheriff’s Office and Dispatch
Baca Grande Fire & EMS
Custer County SAR
Alpine Rescue Team
Flight For Life Colorado, Lifeguard 4
REACH Air Medical Services, Reach 29