Woman dies in fall from Capitol Peak in Pitkin County

A woman climbing alone died after falling from near the summit of Capitol Peak in Pitkin County on Saturday morning.

Pitkin County Chief Deputy Sheriff Parker Lathrop said authorities got word about 7:45 a.m. that a climber had fallen. He said another climber several hundred yards away from the woman saw her fall.

The man said the woman fell about 1,500 to 2,000 feet from below the 14,138-foot summit into Pierre Lakes Basin.

Mountain Rescue Aspen, with support from CareFlight of the Rockies and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, recovered the woman’s body. CareFlight and the state agency provided helicopters.

The volunteer rescue crew were flown to K2, a 13,664-foot peak nearby, to establish radio communications and close the hiking trail. Four volunteers were then flown to Pierre Lakes Basin and hiked up.

The woman’s body was recovered at 2:47 p.m., the sheriff’s office said.

Lathrop said he’s not sure if the woman had reached the summit and was descending or was nearing the summit. The Pitkin County coroner will release the woman’s name after her family is notified.

Capitol Peak, about 15 miles west of Aspen, is in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area.

Lathrop said the sheriff’s department discourages people who aren’t experienced climbers from trying to summit Capitol Peak.

“It can be the crown jewel of the Colorado 14ers because it’s one of the most difficult ones to climb,” Lathrop said. “But it shouldn’t be one of the first ones you climb.”

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