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.

RELATED: Jason Buehler, Climber Who Died On North Maroon Peak, Was Head Brewer For Denver Beer Company

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.

A file photo of North Maroon Peak. (credit: Mountain Rescue Aspen)

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.

A file photo of North Maroon Peak. (credit: kaephotography.com)

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.

The Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake, fall of 2016. (credit: CBS)

 

Logan Smith

Comments
  1. Mary says:

    The “other” name for the Maroon Bells is the “Deadly Bells” because of the number of accidents and deaths from those who attempt to scale one or both of them. According to “What’s Up With the ‘Deadly Bells?’” from Out There Colorado (dated Apr 17, 2018 – and note that someone died climbing there last year as well as this death – and that folks have died from lightning strikes, from hypothermia because of being unprepared for “temperature swings” in summer, as well as from carbon monoxide poisoning in their tents while camping there)
    “Believe it or not, the nickname, the “Deadly Bells,” is actually solidified by the US Forest Service by the means of a sign posted on an access route to these mountains. Accompanied by a warning, this sign cites “downsloping, loose, rotten, and unstable” rock as the reason these peaks are so dangerous, also noting that the climb “kills without warning.””

    Note that as dangerous as the Maroon Bells are, Longs Peak is the most dangerous 14er, not because it is more (or even nearly as) difficult, but mainly because folks decide not to follow the standard route and get in trouble on “non-trails”.

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