Overdue climber in Maroon Bells area is found alive, other man dead

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ASPEN, Colo. — One overdue climber was found dead and the other was alive with severe injuries in the Maroon Bells area near Aspen on Friday, according to emergency scanner traffic.

Crews were awaiting a helicopter to airlift the climber, who was found in the Bell Chord area on the east aspect of North Maroon Peak, to a hospital, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said. The body of the second climber was found a short time later, according to emergency scanner traffic.

A fiancee of one of the climbers called the sheriff’s office Wednesday night after becoming concerned after not hearing from them. The men had reached the summit of North or South Maroon Peak about 12:45 p.m.  Wednesday and sent the woman a photo, but then had no other contact with her. The climbers are 32 and 37 years old from the Vail area.

Deputies say they found a vehicle belonging to one of the climbers at the trailhead Wednesday night and crews from Mountain Rescue Aspen began a search Thursday but didn’t find them as poor weather slowed the efforts to find them.

Crews resumed the search Friday morning and found one of the climbers about 11:15 a.m. The body of the second climber was found just after noon.

There was a winter weather advisory in the Maroon Bells area on Thursday, and about 3 to 6 inches of snow fell in the area.