Friends remember hiker killed during early season climb

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DENVER -- With temperatures popping into the 70s this weekend many of you will likely take advantage of the nice weather by getting outdoors.

We’re in that crossover season where the allure of melting mountain snow draws more hikers into the high country. It’s a season that also brings dangerous risks with it.

Last weekend was just as nice as this weekend is predicted to be. The nice weather drew Chris Schumacher, 28, to hike Blodgett Peak just north of Colorado Springs on Saturday. He was in the area visiting family.

“He had just planned to go out for a little hike,” his hiking partner and buddy Justin Giffin explained.

While on that hike, something went wrong. Schumacher lost control and fell 60 to 100 feet.

"We didn`t have a lot of information to go on initially for the search," said Brian Kinsey with El Paso County Search & Rescue.

Rescuers eventually found Schumacher. But by then it was too late.

“It was just like a punch in the gut,” Giffin said.

Schumacher was supposed to climb a mountain in Boulder the following day with Giffin. Giffin isn’t sure what caused the slip, but said Schumacher was always prepared. But Giffin added, sometimes the best have to deal with the worst possible situations.

“There’s always going to be some kind of risk involved,” Giffin said.

In this case, Schumacher did the most important thing: by letting his family know where he was going to hike before he ventured out. It allowed rescuers to get a good idea for a search area.

Schumacher had just climbed his first 14’er during the winter months the weekend before.

“He was really proud and excited about it,” Giffin said.

While it’s tough for him to comprehend how and why this happened, Giffin wants people to be aware of the potential danger, so they don’t end up in the same situation as his buddy.

A memorial page has been setup for Schumacher on Facebook.