Search and rescue personnel are attempting to recover the body of a 44-year-old Denver woman who fell while climbing a glacier on Paiute Peak in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area yesterday afternoon.
Boulder County, Colo. -- On Sunday, July 26th, 2015, at approximately 8:20 p.m., sheriff's deputies and search and rescue personnel were notified of a climber who had fallen on Paiute Peak. The victim is a 44-year-old Denver woman who was with a friend when she slipped and fell while climbing the peak. According to her companion, the woman fell early yesterday afternoon sometime around 2:00 p.m., as they were attempting to descend from the summit. The woman's companion estimated that she fell at least a hundred feet down a snow bank and into a crevasse. The woman's companion was able to climb down and reach her, where he remained with her for several hours. The man attempted to render medical aid to her, including CPR, for the next several hours. As evening approached he left her in order to hike back to the Mitchell Lake Trailhead to summon additional help, as there is no cell phone service in the backcountry.
The 9-1-1 call to rescue personnel was made by the camp host at Brainard Lake after the woman's companion reached them and alerted them to what had occurred. The woman's companion reported to both the camp host and the rescuers that he believed the woman had died prior to him leaving her.
Sheriff's deputies and search and rescue personnel from the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group responded and attempted to reach the victim last night; however, given the terrain and remote location of the glacier on Paiute Peak, rescuers were unable to reach her. Members of the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group camped in the area overnight and resumed the rescue efforts this morning at first light, just after 5:00 a.m. Rescue personnel reached the victim this morning at 8:40 a.m. and confirmed that the woman was deceased. Rescuers are working to recover the woman's body, which is expected to be a protracted recovery effort, likely requiring air resources due to the location of her body on the peak.
Paiute Peak is located on the western boundary of Boulder County on the Continental Divide in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. The closest trail access to Paiute Peak is from the Mitchell Lake Trailhead at Brainard Lake, and is estimated to be an aerial distance of at least eight miles from the trailhead. The woman's body is estimated to be at an elevation of 13,000 feet, just a few hundred feet below the peak summit.
The investigation into the woman's death is on-going. Sheriff's detectives are working with medical investigators from the Boulder County Coroner's Office to determine the exact circumstances around the woman's death, and the extent of her injuries. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available. The woman's name is being withheld pending the notification of her family.
The sheriff's office case number for this incident is 15-4188.