20-year-old hiker who died on trail near Aspen ID’d
August 21, 2017
The woman who died late Thursday or early Friday after becoming ill while hiking to Conundrum Hot Springs has been identified as 20-year-old Susanna DeForest from Collegeville, Pennsylvania.
DeForest had just completed her sophomore year studying graphic design at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design in Collegeville; she was named to the dean’s list during the spring 2017 semester.
DeForest was hiking with three friends who are all from the Pennsylvania area, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Todaro said. Two of the friends now live in Dillon and the third attends the School of Mines in Golden, he said.
Todaro said the foursome left a bit late in the afternoon but had the proper gear, water and food and were prepared to spend the night at the hot springs and hike out the next day. However, during the hike up, the 20-year-old woman became nauseated and began vomiting, so they set up a tent, put her inside and tried to make her comfortable, he said.
In the meantime, two of the women hiked out to get help, leaving the third with DeForest, Todaro said. The two women left the other two about 8:30 p.m. and were able to notify emergency dispatchers about 10:45 p.m., according to Todaro and a Sheriff’s Office statement.
Volunteers with Mountain Rescue Aspen were dispatched into the field and a helicopter was dispatched to pick up DeForest, he said. But when the helicopter arrived in the area it wasn’t able to land, which may have been because of weather issues, Todaro said.
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By the time another helicopter returned just before 5 a.m., DeForest was dead, he said.
DeForest had no known previous medical issues and Pitkin County Deputy Coroner Eric Hansen said Sunday the cause of death is still under investigation.