Capitol Peak, Colorado – On Saturday, August 26, 2017 a 21-year-old climber died while descending 14,130′ Capitol Peak in the Elk Mountains near Aspen, Colorado. This is the 5th fatality on Capitol Peak this season.
At approximately 3 PM on Saturday, August 26, 2017 Brandon Wilhelm and his 21-year-old climbing partner successfully summited 14,130′ Capitol Peak. Upon their descent, the two became separated near the Knife Edge after disputing the correct descent route.
After discussing their descent options, the victim took a shortcut. He “decided to turn to his left and take a direct line toward the lake, even though he was told there was a cliff band below” (Pitkin Sheriff Press Release). When the victim did not return to camp, Wilhelm reported his partner overdue at 8:45 am on Sunday, August 27.
Mountain Rescue Aspen responded to the area via helicopter. They “made contact with an unconscious, unresponsive male subject. It was determined this individual had injuries that were consistent with a fall from the cliff band above and not able to sustain life. No life support efforts were made. The cliff band directly above this area are approximately 600-700 feet high.”
Authorities have not identified the victim at this point.
Below you will find the report from Mountain Aspen Rescue’s Facebook Page:
We will try to update this post when more information becomes available.