By Rick Sallinger
DENVER (CBS4) — It is called one of the most dangerous and deadly mountains to climb in Colorado. About 10,000 people attempt to reach the Longs Peak summit each year, but only about half of them make it to the top.
As the search goes on for the missing climber, 27-year-old Ryan Albert of New Jersey, the reasons for hikers to respect this mountain become clear.
Approximately 62 people have died trying to reach the top over the years.
One climber, Ben Sorsensen of Golden, recorded a video during one of his ascents.
The view it shows is great, but looking down from the cliffs can be chilling.
As Sorensen’s video shows, the challenges include ledges so narrow there is barely room for a foot.
Most of the deaths have come from falls. Boulder fields are only one of the multitude of hurdles to conquer to reach the summit.
Everett Phillips is a Rocky Mountain National Park climbing ranger who has been involved in too many rescues to count.
He told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger, “Often times it involves helicopters, some sort of aviation, rescuers can be out even for multiple days on some rescuers due to the remote nature of the climb.”
Helicopters often have to be called in take someone off the mountain.
There are are rapidly changing weather conditions including hail storms, climbers can also face dehydration, altitude sickness and in the summer there a crowds.
Rocky Mountain National Park offers a website with information including conditions and it has a video to prepare climbers for the unexpected. On it prospective climbers are warned, “Weather shifts quickly and can cover the mountain in ice and snow any time of the year.”
But as Sorensen and so many others have found reaching that summit at 14,259 feet can be well worth the effort, but then the challenge quickly becomes to get down safely.
The search for Ryan Albert continued on Thursday after it was suspended on Wednesday because of adverse weather conditions. Search teams planned to resume the search again Friday.