PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A pair of climbers atop North Maroon Peak called Pitkin County 911 dispatchers Friday after witnessing a solo male climber fall 500 to 1,000 feet as he worked his way toward them.
The solo climber, later identified as a 43-year-old male from Niwot, did not live through the accident.
Saturday, a member of the Pitkin County Coroner’s Office released the man’s name to CBS4: Jason Buehler.
In a press release from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, it was stated that the two witnesses were watching Buehler traverse the ridge between South Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak when he fell down a narrow, southeast-facing gulley below North Maroon’s summit.
Four teams from Mountain Rescue Aspen began making their way into the area from Maroon Lake at 1:43 p.m., a little more than an hour after the initial phone call. Two teams hiked in, two others were taken by helicopter. The team aboard a U.S. Army National Guard High Altitude Aviation Training Site copter spotted the climber’s body an hour later and were lowered in.
They confirmed he had passed away and described the fall as “not survivable.”
Buehler’s body was airlifted to a staging area at Maroon Lake and handed over to the coroner’s office, according the sheriff’s office, and all rescuers reported out of the area at 5:30 p.m.
Feedback on climbing websites describes the hike to South Maroon Peak and the scramble across to North Maroon – a combination referred to as the Maroon Bells Traverse – as a difficult trek amid unstable stone, faint trail, steep drop-offs, and possible falling rock dislodged by mountain goats or other climbers from above.
Together, the two peaks form one of Colorado’s most photographed natural landscapes.