DENVER (KDVR) — A man was climbing near Copper Mountain Saturday and was found dead Sunday after a friend reported him missing, according to a release from the Summit County Rescue Group.
A friend of the 29-year-old climber said he knew he would be doing a climb near Officers Gulch, locally known as Officers Wall, but said the climber did not specify the exact area, according to SCRG.
The climber’s friend said he called around 5 p.m. saying he was on a rock and was heading back down soon, expecting to return at 6:30, SCRG said. But the friend had not heard from the climber later that evening, so he drove to Officers Gulch and found the climber’s car still parked there. At about 10:33 p.m., the friend reported him as missing.
About an hour later, eight members from SCRG searched for the missing climber along the bike path between Officers Gulch and Frisco and along a climbing trail locally known as Halfway Rock.
SCRG said they paused the search in the interest of the rescuer’s safety around 2 a.m. as the darkness and traffic noise made seeing or hearing the missing climber unlikely.
The search continued at first light around 6 a.m. Sunday, this time with 19 SCRG members searching.
The climber’s family provided his last known phone location and a video of the man, which SCRG said aided greatly in the search. After nearly 2 hours of searching, SCRG said a couple of searchers found the climber’s body at the base of a cliff known as Officers Wall.
SCRG and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said the deceased and his family did several things right to help with the search.
By letting his friend know an expected return time, the subject ensured that a search began quickly and that searchers knew an approximate area to search in. And by sending a video to his family and having a shared phone location app, he allowed searchers to pinpoint his location quickly once the family was able to share this information with us. These are practices other backcountry recreationists can learn from, and although this incident ended tragically, we also know that a search which continues for a long time or is unresolved altogether is an even more difficult situation for friends and family.
Summit County Rescue Group
SCRG said SCSO’s Special Operations Unit conducted an accident investigation, and then SCRG rescuers set up a rigging system to recover the climber’s body.
SCRG said any further information will be released by the Summit County Coroner’s Office.
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