SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Summit County Rescue Group recovered the body of a hiker on Friday from Mount Silverthorne. Ken May left his vehicle around 7 a.m. Wednesday but did not return later that night.
Rescuers described May as an experienced hiker. He was equipped with a SPOT tracking device that sent automatic GPS position updates.
According to search crews, a message was received from May at 1:20 p.m. stating that he was descending from the summit of Mount Silverthorne. His last coordinates were received at about 5:30 p.m. near the ridge line descending from the mountain toward Salmon Lake.
Two search crews dispatched on Wednesday evening to search for May but had to turn around due to darkness and difficult terrain. The following morning a Flight for Life helicopter dropped off a search team near May’s last known coordinates.
Around 4 p.m. on Thursday, a search team found May’s body in technical terrain below the ridge between Mount Silverthorne and East Thorne. Rescuers decided to postpone the recovery operation until Friday due to difficult terrain and the need for rescuer safety.
A team of 20 rescuers ascended the mountain on Friday. Four additional rescuers were flown by helicopter to the saddle between Mount Silverthorne and East Thorne. Two of those rescuers rappelled about 500 feet into a couloir to reach May’s body.
A ground team worked to set up a lowering system totaling 1500 vertical feet to bring May’s body down the mountain. This portion of the operation took about four hours.
May was flown by helicopter to Saint Anthony Summit Medical Center. The Summit County Coroner’s Office will determine his cause of death.