Rescuers find body of Vail man who was missing in Maroon Bells |

Rescuers find body of Vail man who was missing in Maroon Bells

Daily staff report

ASPEN — Mountain Rescue Aspen found the body of the second missing Maroon Bells climber this afternoon.

Rescuers found the first man, David Richardson, 32, alive Friday morning around 11:15 in the Bell Chord area on the east aspect of North Maroon peak. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office reported that rescuers found the second man, Jarod Wetherell, 37, deceased at 12:45 p.m. His body was located in the upper portion of a section of North Maroon Peak, commonly known as the “Rock Glacier.” The Sheriff’s Office reported that both men are from Vail.

Weather conditions had slowed down the search for the two men, who were last known to be on top of either the North or South Maroon Peak around 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

A break in the weather this morning allowed rescuers to use a helicopter from the Colorado National Guard High Altitude Aviation Training Site, based in Gypsum, in the search.

Mountain Rescue Aspen members were evaluating the surviving climber’s injuries as of late morning and determining a plan to transport the man out of the area. Rescuers are now currently developing a recovery plan for the second climber.

On Wednesday at around 10 p.m., the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office received a report of the overdue hikers in the Maroon Bells, which are two peaks above 14,000 feet located about 12 miles southwest of Aspen.

The caller, a friend of one the climbers, was calling from the Vail area and reported that the two climbers had sent her a picture from the summit of one of the peaks around noon on Wednesday. The climbers did not contact her later that evening, and around 8 p.m., she grew concerned. A vehicle belonging to one of the climbers was located at the trailhead around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night, authorities said.

Members from Mountain Rescue Aspen began to mobilize and on Thursday, three teams of rescuers entered the field on foot in search of the climbers. Inclement weather made a search from the air impossible Thursday.

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