Solo climber stranded on cliff after sliding 400 feet down ridge on Colorado mountain
JUNE 01, 2022
Search and rescue volunteers likely saved the life of a climber on one of Colorado’s popular fourteeners over the weekend.
According to Chaffee County Search and Rescue North, they received a report of a climber that had been ‘cliffed-out’ in the area of 14,074-foot Missouri Mountain at about 9:40 AM on Saturday, May 28.
A solo hiker was on the ridge between the summit of Missouri Mountain and Elkhead Pass, which is the pass between Missouri and Belford peaks, when he slid an estimated 400 feet down from the ridge to the top of a 100-foot cliff band located at roughly 13,400 feet of elevation. At this point, he was unable to make any safe movements that would bring him up or down the mountain. Fortunately, the hiker had a personal locator beacon that could send out a distress signal.
Seven climbers hiked up the Missouri Mountain to reach the stranded climber. They were able to stage the rescue operation below the climber. “From there, a team of two …climbers ascended a couloir just west of the subject and then traversed over to his location,” rescuers said. “They were able to lower the subject to a snow field below the cliff band and then rappel down as well.” The climber wasn’t injured and was able to hike out of the trailhead with rescuers. After about 10 hours, all search and rescue officials and the climber were off the ridge, according to the team. “Over the past several years, (the rescue team) has responded to a number of calls in the area of the ridge between Missouri Mountain and Elkhead Pass,” rescuers said. “It can be a very challenging descent.”