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Climber dies in fall, 2nd rescued near 14ers in southern Colorado

Rescue crews brought the two Denver-area climbers down near the Crestone Traverse in the Sangre de Cristo range.

CUSTER COUNTY, Colo. — A climber died in a fall and another was rescued after they got off-route near the Crestone Traverse on Wednesday in southern Colorado, according to Custer County Search and Rescue (CCSAR).

Rescue crews brought back the two Denver-area climbers who were at about 13,800 feet on the traverse between two 14ers, Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle, in the Sangre de Cristo range.

The climbers were nearer to the Needle while working toward the finish of the traverse when one of them, a man, suffered a fatal fall, according to CCSAR.

The other climber, a woman, climbed down to reach him, wasn't able to ascend or descend safely from that point and used a satellite communication device to call for help.

There was a threat of weather moving into the area at that time, CCSAR said.

With helicopter support, two members of the CCSAR Technical Rope Rescue Team reached both of the climbers and brought them out of the field.

CCSAR offered its condolences to the family and friends of the climbers.

"Careful and precise route-finding is imperative when climbing in the Crestone Group as the consequences are extremely high," CCSAR said on Facebook. "Additionally, regardless of skill or experience, backcountry accidents can happen to anyone."

CCSAR offered the following guidance:

  • Check detailed weather forecasts before climbing.
  • Choose your route is important because in some cases, reversing direction isn't possible.
  • Carry effective rain gear and have enough food, water and clothing to spend a night out should something go wrong.
  • Carry two-way communication/GPS devices, cellphones and extra batteries or charging blocks.
  • Leave a detailed trip itinerary with someone.

Other agencies that responded to the incident were Canon City Helitack and Saguache County Search and Rescue.

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