Outdoorwire reports two climbers in a church group were caught in an avalanche on Colorado Fourteener Mount Quandry near Breckenridge. One climber was able to call 911 with his cell phone. The body of the other climber was recovered with use of a rescue dog under 1.15 meters of debris. The hard slab avalanche which was triggered by the climbers was reported to be 600 feet wide but only 1 to 2 feet thick and fell 13,800 feet and fell to nearly 11,700 feet from a very wind-loaded (or wind-drifted) S aspect. One on November 11, 2002, two climbers were swept by an avalanche but survied. A lone skier was killed on Dec. 21, 1999.
The Aspen Times reports Aron Ralston is the first climber to complete the Colorado fourteener winter solo project (by a count of 54, 59 or whatever). And he’s just the third climber to reach the top of all the fourteeners in calendar winter (from the winter solstice to the vernal equinox). Ralston 45 of the fourteeners in 1998-99. He had climbed all of the Elk Range fourteeners in the 2002-03 season, before the accident in Utah’s Canyonlands in the spring of 2003. He bagged two peaks last winter and the final 12 since this December, including the privately owned Culebra, wearing a 10-pound suit of plate-mail ice because of a storm. Of the 59 climbs, Ralston retreated, or turned back, only once. That was his first attempt on the relatively easy Mount Evans. Boulder resident Tom Mereness is the first climber to complete the list of winter Colorado fourteener ascents (though not as a solo project). Ralston said Mount of the Holy Cross was the hardest peak of them all. “But only because of how I ended up doing it,” he hedged. “The Halo route – it’s 32 miles for one peak, traversing over 11 summits over 13,200 feet.”
The DenverChannel reports a Channel 7 helicopter plucked 42-year-old hiker from Littleton, Colo., off 14,060 foot Mount Bierstadt. Wendy Dean had gotten caught in white out conditions and a search was in progress. Dean said she became disoriented in the snowstorm, fell and lost her snowshoes. She was stranded for more than 8 hours while her two friends made it back down to the top of Guanella Pass and called for help. The helicopter rescued her at at the 12,600 foot level and of course the whole thing was videotaped. The copter pilot noted, “We missed the 6 p.m. newscast,” said Westra. “I’m sure I’ll hear bout it from the boss, but I feel that we did get her home.”
9news in Denver reports a man in an avalanche awareness class was killed when an avalanche hit the group outside of teh Aspen Highlands Ski Area in arrea known Five Fingers Bowl.
The Denver Channel reports Efron Roque de la Cruz was killed in a 100 foot fall while hiking with his brother and two friends Monday in Cheyenne Canyon near Colorado Springs.
The NPS reports: A 28-year-old man from Aurora, Colorado, fell about 100 feet from the Narrows section of the Keyhole Route on Longs Peak around 10 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, January 20th, knocking himself unconscious. When he regained consciousness, he climbed and pulled himself back to the Keyhole Route, then crawled and hobbled four miles to Chasm Junction, resting at one point in the Agnes Vaille Shelter near the Boulderfield. A local guide and his client heard cries for help around 6:30 p.m. that evening, found the man, and notified the park. A group of rescuers reached him just before midnight. Eight members of the parkÃÂ¢Ã¢âÂ¬Ã¢âÂ¢s staff and nine members of Larimer County SAR stayed with him through the night. Plans to fly him out at sunrise the next morning had to be scratched due to high winds, so he was evacuated by a litter team, then taken by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center. He was stable and alert with numerous injuries at the time of the report. [Submitted by Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Specialist
Various newspapers including Arizona Central report that 28-year-old Harnish Gowans of Colorado Springs is seeking to be the first person to climb all 54 Colorado Fourteeners in the same calendar winter. His blog is on the Wild Snow website .
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Gowans scheduled his climbs so he will hit the drier eastern mountains before too much snow piles up, then swing over to the southwestern peaks once a settling snowpack has lowered the risk of slides. To do this he quit his job as a bartender and moved out of his house. On his first peak — Longs Peak — he lost two toenails to frostbite. He says his months climbed a 14er when she was 7 months pregnant with him.
The Montrose Press reports that an ice climber fell 80 feet while climbing at the Ouray Ice Park She was airlifted to a hospital. This occurred during the 10th Annual Ouray Ice Festival but she was not part of the festival climbs. Since perhaps 1,000 people were nearby she got immediate attention. Two people have died climbing in the park in the last nine years but none during the Ice Festival.