Helicopter rescues wayward climber from Capitol Peak near Aspen
September 7, 2017
A climber who went off-route on the descent of Capitol Peak became stranded in the sub-summit K2 area Wednesday afternoon, according to a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office statement.
Joseph Seeds Jr. of Denver was unable to find the route again but was able to contact a friend via text message for help, according to the statement.
The Pitkin County Emergency Dispatch center received a report of the climber at approximately 2:40 p.m. A National Guard Black Hawk helicopter was deployed at approximately 4:45 p.m. and an additional group of rescuers hiked into the field at around 5.
Shortly thereafter the helicopter team located Seeds, who was thirsty and fatigued, according to the statement, but was otherwise uninjured. Seeds and the MRA team were flown off the mountain by 6:15 p.m.
Five climbers have died on Capitol Peak this summer, a stunning increase in fatalities on the 14er. Only four climbers died on Capitol between 2003 and 2016.
- A 21-year-old man died Aug. 26 while attempting to descent Capitol. He and his hiking partner had a disagreement over the route, and the two went their separate ways. The other man made it safely down the mountain.
- A young Aspen couple died Aug. 20. Other hikers reported seeing the couple ascending toward the summit, but no one reported seeing them descend.
- Jeremy Shull, a 35-year-old Parker man with a 2-month-old son, died Aug. 6 while attempting to summit Capitol Peak. It appears his fatal fall occurred between K2 and the Knife Edge.
- Jake Lord, a 25-year-old from Parker, died July 15 when a large boulder came loose while he was attempting to climb over it.