Colorado solo climber, 29, found dead at Officers Gulch in Summit County: officials

Authorities in Colorado recovered the body of a solo climber who went missing in the Rocky Mountains over the weekend.

The Summit County Rescue Group (SCRG) recovered the body of a 29-year-old male climber, who was not identified, on Sunday near the area of Officers Gulch, also known locally as Officers Wall following a search effort that spanned the weekend.

According to SCRG, a friend of the missing person, who was also not identified for privacy, said his friend informed him of the climbing trip the night before and made contact while he was on the mountain but never returned.

Approximately four hours after the climber was expected to be back home, the friend had not seen or heard from him, so he reported him missing.


Rescue team members found the body of a 29-year-old solo climber who went missing over the weekend in a boulder field in the area of Officers Gulch. (Summit County Rescue Group)

The SCRG said the reporting friend last made contact with the climber at approximately 5 p.m. Saturday, when he said he was on his way down the mountain and would be heading home shortly.

The return trip should have taken him about an hour and a half — an estimated arrival time of 6:30 p.m. — but by 10 p.m., he had not returned.

The friend then drove to Officers Gulch, found his friend’s car still parked there and promptly called the police to report him missing, officials said.

SCRG fielded eight members to search the area, including along the bike path between Officers Gulch and Frisco, and along a climbers’ trail known locally as Halfway Rock.


The search ran from approximately 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 through 2 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3, when SCRG’s mission coordinator suspended the search until first light to ensure the search could be conducted safely. The coordinator also said the dark night and the noise of traffic from I-70 made the possibility of seeing or hearing the missing climber “unlikely.”

The search effort resumed at approximately 6 a.m., the SCRG said.

Trees, rocks

The Summit County Rescue Group said a search for the missing climber was initiated on Saturday, Sept 2, when he did no return from a climb earlier in the day. (Summit County Rescue Group)

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) also joined the 19 SCRG members in searching Officers Gulch, utilizing a drone to see from above.

Progress was made when the missing party’s family provided a last known location from a shared phone location app and a video the missing climber had sent the day before.

At 7:50 a.m., a team of two SCRG rescuers found the climber’s body at the cliff’s base at which point SCSO’s Special Operations Unit conducted an accident investigation.

Summit County Rescue Group team members

SCRG personnel used an apparatus to retrieve the body of a missing solo climber from the boulder field where it was found. (Summit County Rescue Group)

After the investigation, a technical team set up a rigging system to retrieve the body from the boulder field and to the parking lot. The operation concluded at approximately 12:00 p.m.

The body was then sent to the Summit County Coroner’s Office.

“SCRG and SCSO extend their deepest condolences to all the loved ones of the deceased. We would also like to note that the deceased and his family did several things right that helped us find him and bring him back to his family in a reasonably short period of time,” a statement from both offices said.

Mountains in the distance

An accidental investigation was conducted and the body of the 29-year-old climber was sent to the Summit County Coroner’s Office. (George Rose/Getty Images)

The statement also highlighted safety precautions useful for those who go on solo climbs as well as their families.  

“By letting his friend know an expected return time, the subject ensured that a search began quickly and that searchers knew an approximate area to search. And, by sending a video to his family and having a shared phone location app, he allowed searchers to pinpoint his location quickly once the family was able to share this information with us,” The statement continued. “These are practices other backcountry recreationists can learn from, and although this incident ended tragically, we also know that a search that continues for a long time or is unresolved altogether is an even more difficult situation for friends and family.”

By Tuesday morning, the victim’s name has not been released.


Fox News Digital reached out to the Summit County Coroner’s Office for additional information, but a response was not immediately received.

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