Hiker dies Sunday on 14er Capitol Peak near Aspen | SummitDaily.com

Hiker dies Sunday on 14er Capitol Peak near Aspen

Second person to die on the mountain in less than a month

In this 2015 photo, skiers approach the summit of Capitol Peak.
Aspen Times file photo

A hiker died Sunday trying to summit Capitol Peak, west of Aspen, and is the second person to die on the mountain in less than a month.

Pitkin County authorities said another hiker climbing the northernmost of the Elk Range’s 14,000-foot mountains called the county dispatch center at approximately 8:20 a.m. He reported that a person in a group in front of his was about to cross the “Knife’s Edge” on Capitol and fell off the east side.

A deputy with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office met with members from Mountain Rescue Aspen to start a rescue mission.

Members of the all-volunteer MRA gathered hiked into the area as well as being dropped into the field by a helicopter from Summit County.

The team inserted by helicopter was able to determine that the hiker had fatal injuries. The name of the hiker is being withheld pending notification to his family.

Because of  the precarious area of the fall, it was decided that a recovery mission would have to wait until the weather is better, possibly Wednesday morning. The Knife’s Edge is near the summit of the 14,131-foot peak.

On July 15, Jake Lord of Parker died after falling 50 to 100 meters while hiking Capitol. Lord was killed when a 200-pound boulder came loose and crushed him. Lord, 25, was on the ridge between Capitol and Mt. Daly, and specifically the ridge between Daly Saddle and K2.

The book “Colorado’s Fourteeners” says Capitol Peak “has been called Colorado’s hardest fourteener. Many dispute that claim, but Capitol is certainly one of the hardest.”

“Capitol’s fame as a difficult peak is largely because of the northeast ridge’s spectacular knife-edge,” the book says, referring to the location of Sunday’s fall.

Lord’s death less than a month ago was the fourth fatal incident on a fourteener in Colorado this year, the Summit Daily reported, so Sunday’s death makes the 2017 toll at least five.

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