UPDATE: 43-year-old Pennsylvania woman killed in 150-foot fall on Mount Royal
A 43-year-old woman died Sunday evening after falling about 150 feet while descending Mount Royal, marking the third reported hiking death this summer in Summit County.
The county coroner has identified the woman as Regina Foley. She was from Havertown, Pennsylvania, but owned a condo at the Pointe at Lake Dillon in Frisco, according to local property records.
The Summit Daily held off publishing Foley’s name earlier Monday after speaking to a family member who said Foley came from a big extended family and not all the family had been notified.
Rescue crews working at the trailhead to recover Foley’s body Sunday night said she had been hiking with two other men when she fell.
The trio reached the summit earlier in the day and were on their way back down the mountain. Foley was an estimated 1,500 feet from the base when she tripped and fell about 150 feet to her death.
According to Charles Pitman, spokesman for the Summit County Rescue Group, the hikers had veered off the trail and Foley was struggling to navigate her way down a steep, challenging section the rocky mountainside when she fell.
The call came in around 6 p.m. and the rescuers had Foley’s body off the mountain by 8:30 p.m. Because where she fell is so steep, Pitman said, they had to use ropes to lower Foley’s body about 200 feet to get her down to the recpath at the base of the mountain.
“Anytime you get off trail on that particular mountain, you have to be cognizant of rock bands and some of these gullies that get filled with brush and dense undergrowth,” Pitman said.
He doesn’t know exactly which route the hikers took Sunday, but Pitman said one of them told him they purposely went off trail on the way down to vary up the hike.
“There is loose scree and rock bands; sometimes it can get fairly steep, and it’s difficult to get a footing because it slips out from under you,” Pitman said of the area, explaining that it’s a fairly common feature across the Rocky Mountains.
The Summit County Coroner’s Office responded to the scene. The coroner has since determined Foley died as a result of injuries suffered in the fall and ruled her death an accident.
According to Foley’s Facebook page, she was the owner and operator of Foley Enterprises, a distributor of promotional products, including items like mugs, pens and T-shirts.
Stretch Funeral Home in Havertown is handling the arrangements. They were incomplete as of Monday afternoon.
So far this summer, at least three people have died on Summit County mountains.
A longtime local, beloved coach for the Summit Nordic Ski Club and accomplished endurance athlete, Hannah Taylor died July 21 when she was struck by a falling rock while running the Gore Range. She was 39 years old.
Ten days later, David Law, a 67-year-old man from Casper, Wyoming, died after suffering a heart attack on his way up Quandary Peak, one of Colorado’s most popular 14ers.
Meanwhile, the search for 33-year-old Denver resident Tyler Gorrell has not yet yielded any results. Gorrell was reported missing Aug. 3 and his car was found near the Rock Creek trailhead a week later.
Gorrell is 5-foot-9 and about 200 pounds. He has long brown hair that he usually wears in a ponytail and is said to have a tattoo on his back below his neck. Gorrell has hiked Summit County trails in the past and is somewhat familiar with the area.
According to Pitman, the rescue group has expended over 400 manhours in the search for Gorrell. He is thought to be somewhere in Summit County’s backcountry, perhaps in the area outside Silverthrone, but crews so far have been unable to find the missing man.
Anyone with information about Gorrell or his whereabouts is urged to call the Summit County Sheriff Office at 970-668-8600.
Tourism and outdoor recreation employ a lot of people, but those workers’ wages are below county and regional averages.