UPDATE: May 31, 4:38 p.m. – According to officials with the National Park Service, after a brief window of good weather permitted it, the body of the man who died during Sunday’s avalanche was recovered via helicopter and transported to the Boulder County Coroner’s office. His identity hasn’t been released yet as next-of-kin needs to first be notified.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (KDVR) – New pictures from the Dreamweaver Couloir show rescue crews on Mount Meeker. The crews were trying to help three people after an avalanche and rockfall Sunday.
The Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue saved two of the climbers. Unfortunately, a third was found dead, buried in the steep, and icy terrain. According to a park spokesman, a rockfall mixed with an avalanche prompted the need for the rescue crew’s intervention.
It happened on Mt. Meeker’s Dreamweaver Couloir, which is a steep narrow icy rocky gulley. A climber who posted a video on Youtube demonstrated how difficult it was to climb Dreamweaver.
Owen Zhou’s video is breathtaking as you watch him navigate Dreamweaver’s crux.
“A lot of it is kind of feeling once you place the ice ax you want to tug a little bit on it to see if it’s secure. The crux is very vertical. If you do fall you’ll go all the way to the bottom,” Zhou said.
Colorado Mountain School guides explained that Dreamweaver offers some of the best Alpine routes on the Front Range.
The climb is similar to the ones you’d find in the Swiss Alps and Alaska.
“There are sections of climbing of near-vertical technical climbing where you are using two ice tools one in each hand. You have crampons on your feet for traction. You are using a rope and protective hardware to stay anchored into the mountain,” Colorado mountain guide Buster Jesick said.
Our pinpoint meteorologist Chris Tomer has climbed Dreamweaver. Heavy snows in the last two weeks have made the climb more avalanche prone.
“So, you’re adding new snow to a steep exposed technical route. We’ve had freezes and thaws each day so the snow may get heavy in the afternoon and want to avalanche,” Tomer said.
It’s that snow now making it more difficult to retrieve the body of the climber killed on the mountain.
Inclement weather with freezing temperatures, strong winds, and snow continued to stop recovery efforts Monday.