Authorities on Monday recovered the body of a 52-year-old climber who went missing Sunday afternoon during his descent from Thunder Pyramid Peak, a 13,932-foot summit next to Pyramid Peak about 10 miles southwest of Aspen.
The Pitkin County Coroner’s Office identified him as Steve Gladbach, of Pueblo. He died from head trauma in addition to “multiple systems injuries,” the Coroner’s Office said.
An air search to locate him Sunday evening was unsuccessful. Emergency dispatchers first received the report of a missing climber around 2 p.m. Sunday. Just after 6 p.m. Sunday, Mountain Rescue Aspen was looking for him with the help of DBS Helicopters, of Rifle.
On Monday, the search resumed by air and on foot, with a High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site helicopter and four two-person ground teams from Mountain Rescue Aspen participating. At 11:18 a.m., Gladbach’s body was located, transported off the mountain and turned over to the Coroner’s Office.
A sheriff’s deputy Sunday said the missing man was an experienced climber. He had reached the summit of Thunder Pyramid Peak with two other climbers, the deputy said. The three climbers had previously scaled two mountain peaks higher than 14,000 feet over the weekend, the deputy said.
The two other climbers were not in the same area as Gladbach when he went missing, authorities have said, adding that Gladbach may have been descending the summit well ahead of them. They used a SPOT locator device to alert authorities to their situation.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Alex Burchetta said it took more than 2.5 hours for the ground teams to descend the mountain after finding the body Monday.
Pyramid Peak and Thunder Pyramid Peak, located in the Maroon Bells Wilderness Area, are popular tests for summer climbers.