|An experienced mountaineer from Parker died on Saturday, July 9, after falling approximately 100 feet while descending the Crestone Needle in the Sangre de Cristos.
Custer Search and Rescue Captain Cindy Howard told the Tribune the recovery mission was one of about seven missions the organization was involved in over the past two weeks.
The dead climber was identified as John Stephen Hunt, 55, of Parker.
Howard said the man had summited all of Colorado’s Fourteeners, and had climbed Crestone Needle on several occasions.
Hunt was with a party of three climbing in the Sangres. One in the group left because of difficult conditions, and he became lost but was found later by Saguache County crews on Broken Hand Pass.
Hunt and his group reportedly had reached the summit of the 14,197-foot Needle. During their descent, they took a wrong route and Hunt plunged to his death.
S&R recovered his body on Sunday, July 10; his body was removed from the mountains on Tuesday, July 12.
Also on July 10, a 54-year-old Denver woman was rescued after suffering AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness – while hiking the east ridge of Humboldt Peak the day prior. After reaching lower elevations, she reportedly recovered.
This past Sunday, July 17, two Denver hikers, a 29-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man, were rescued after becoming stranded in the same area where Mr. Hunt died a week earlier. Howard said the pair happened to find Mr. Hunt’s cell phone and other personal belongings during their ordeal. They suffered no injuries.
Last Friday, July 15, Custer S&R assisted Pueblo authorities in rescuing a middle-aged woman who apparently broke her leg at the natural water slide located below Lake San Isabel.
Howard said local crews took part in other missions in the Sangres along with search and rescue crews from throughout the region. All ended safely for the lost or stranded victims.