Pyramid Peak hiker found alive more than 48 hours after reported missing | VailDaily.com

Pyramid Peak hiker found alive more than 48 hours after reported missing

Neil Brosseau, 66, of Denver has been missing since Sunday after hiking 14er near Aspen

Jason Auslander, Aspen Times
Neil Brosseau, front, of Denver has been missing on Pyramid Peak since 2 p.m. Sunday. The search continued Tuesday on the peak near Aspen.
Courtesy photo

A Mountain Rescue Aspen team walking out of the backcountry near Pyramid Peak found a missing Denver man alive and in good condition Tuesday afternoon, an official said.

The team came upon Neil Brousseau, 66, about 3:50 p.m. and recognized him as the man MRA has spent more than 48 hours searching for, said Alex Burchetta, director of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. 

“He seems to be doing just fine,” Burchetta said.

A sheriff’s deputy was en route to pick up Brousseau and transport him to the MRA headquarters on Highway 82 near Aspen’s airport to debrief him, Burchetta said. Details about what happened and how he got lost were not immediately available. 

Brosseau, who became separated from three others in his party as they descended the mountain Sunday afternoon, was last seen at about 13,000 feet at the top of the saddle that leads to the northeast summit ridge, Burchetta said Tuesday morning.

A medical helicopter out of Grand Junction ferried the MRA searchers to a spot near the amphitheater below Pyramid’s north face about 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, Burchetta said. Officials also used a drone Tuesday to target specific areas of the mountain in the search for Brosseau, Burchetta said. 

Brosseau was first reported missing late Sunday afternoon or early evening, though MRA volunteers did not head into the field until Monday morning, Burchetta said. MRA and the Sheriff’s Office do not undertake nighttime missions unless there’s a confirmed need, such as an injury, he said.

No one had seen Brosseau, said to be an experienced climber, since about 2 p.m. Sunday. 

Pyramid Peak is about 12 miles southwest of Aspen. The Pyramid Peak trail on the northeast ridge is about 8 miles round trip from the trailhead at Maroon Lake, according to website 14ers.com. The last 1,000 feet to the summit requires “Class 3 and 4 climbing and careful route-finding,” according to the website, and the “remaining 500 feet to the summit is complex.”

Voluntary separation among climbing parties is the leading cause of MRA-led searches in the backcountry, Burchetta said.