ASPEN, Colo. (CBS4) – A string of deadly falls on the treacherous Capitol Peak and Maroon Bells climbs has the Pitkin County Sheriff calling for major changes.
Sheriff Joe DiSalvo says he won’t be sugar coating his comments about the issue any longer.
“Something is broken up there and we need to fix this problem before more people die,” DiSalvo told CBS4 on Monday.
A climber’s death Saturday makes five fatalities in the past six weeks alone on the climbs. The unidentified man whose body was recovered marks the third to die this summer navigating the Knife’s Edge — a 100 foot ledge on Capitol Peak with hundreds of foot dropoffs on both sides.
The sheriff wants the U.S. Forest Service to put up signs warning of danger, something that so far is just under consideration.
Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteers have been responding almost daily to the area. The crews have been charged with the body recoveries in the difficult terrain, often using helicopters to reach the victims.
“Our peaks have been very deadly this year. I think we’re finding that the rock is really loose just with the melt-freeze cycle we had in the winter. … And people are not making the best decisions when they’re up there,” said Mountain Rescue Aspen spokesman Jeff Edelson.
Local officials hope people get the message to stay off these dangerous peaks if they are not prepared.
“We are certainly coming across people that have both been injured and killed that I don’t think were really to prepared to be where they were,” Edelson said.