Body of Vail man recovered after fatal fall on Capitol Peak

By Real Vail
Real AspenJuly 22, 2013
The body of 35-year-old Ryan Palmer of Vail was recovered from a snowfield below the sheer north face of 14,130-foot Capitol Peak near Aspen on Sunday.

Palmer, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, fell approximately 200 to 300 feet while descending the north face on Friday. Rescuers located his body on Saturday but were unable to recover it until Sunday.

Palmer was descending the peak with two other climbers when he decided to take the north face route instead of the traditional Knife Edge Ridge. His climbing partners, who did not know at the time that Palmer had fallen, reported him missing at about 7:15 p.m. Friday when he failed to meet them at Capitol Lake.

Eleven Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteers and a helicopter out of Rifle recovered Palmer's body at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Here's the full press release from the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office:

Capitol Peak near Aspen.

Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteers and DBS Helicopter Services from Rifle, Colorado, at the request of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office successfully recovered the body of the deceased climber on Capitol Peak. The climber has since been identified as thirty five year old Ryan Joseph Palmer of Vail, Colorado.

On Friday July 19, 2013, Mr. Palmer reportedly fell approximately 200 to 300 feet on the north face of Capitol Peak. Capitol Peak is an extremely steep and exposed 14,130 foot mountain in the West Elk Range of Colorado. At approximately 07:15 P.M. Mr. Palmer’s hiking companions, who did not know at the time that Mr. Palmer had fallen, reported to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office that Mr. Palmer was overdue from meeting them at Capitol Lake which is located on the north side of Capitol Peak.

On Saturday July 20, 2013, Mountain Rescue Aspen deployed eleven volunteer members and with the aid of Bruce Gordon of Eco Flight from Aspen, Colorado located Palmer on the snowfield below the north face of the mountain.

Today on Sunday July 21, 2013 Mountain Rescue Aspen deployed another eleven volunteer members to facilitate the recovery of Mr. Palmer’s body. The recovery was further facilitated by DBS Helicopter Services from Rifle, Colorado in transporting Mr. Palmer’s body off of the extremely steep north face to an established landing zone approximately eight miles away.

Mr. Palmer’s body was received at the landing zone by Pitkin County Deputy Coroner Michael Buglione who transported Mr. Palmer’s body to the Aspen Valley Hospital.

As of 03:30 P.M. on July 21, 2013, DBS Helicopter Services and all Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteer personnel were safely out of the field.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office wishes to extend its thanks to DBS Helicopter Services in Rifle, Colorado, Bruce Gordon of Eco Flight in Aspen, Colorado and all the volunteer members of Mountain Rescue Aspen for their efforts in this difficult mission.

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