MESA COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Members of a search and rescue team and other first responders in Mesa County kept up a 4th of July tradition Sunday and scaled a 450 foot high rock tower in Colorado National Monument. It was the 31st annual climb up Independence Monument on Independence Day.

(credit: Mesa County)

After scaling the monument, an American flag was raised at the top of the rock formation.

The climbers were volunteers from Mesa County Search and Rescue Technical Ropes Team and members of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.

(credit: Mesa County)

John Otto, the founder of Colorado National Monument, started the climbing tradition.

The American flag will remain at the top of Independence Monument for approximately a week for monument visitors to view.

Jesse Sarles