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August 24, 2019

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Climber dies in 60-foot fall in Boulder Canyon

50-year-old male fell from top of cliff after completing route

Boulder County, Colo. - On Saturday, August 24, a person driving through the area of 32700 Boulder Canyon Drive was flagged down by a group of climbers, who reported to her that a climber had fallen approximately sixty feet in the area of the Bell Buttress. The location of the injured climber was further described as being across the river and across from a climbing area called “The Bowling Alley.” The passerby immediately drove to a location with cell reception and called the Boulder County Communications Center to report the incident at approximately 11:17 a.m.

A Boulder County Parks and Open Space Ranger was nearby at the time the call was dispatched and responded to assist. The Ranger was the first rescue unit to arrive on scene, at approximately 11:25 a.m. In the meantime, some climbers made their way up to check on the victim, who was up on a ledge and unresponsive. The victim, a 50-year-old male from Kansas, was pronounced as deceased at 12:14 p.m. Detectives from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office and investigators from the Boulder County Coroner’s Office were then notified and responded to the scene to investigate. Volunteer rescue personnel from Rocky Mountain Rescue Group evacuated the climber’s body from the ledge down to the roadway.

From interviews with multiple witnesses on scene, investigators learned that the victim had been climbing with a climbing partner. They had just completed a climbing route called “Cosmos.” Both the victim and his climbing partner were walking along the top of the cliff looking for a route to descend. The victim walked up to the edge of the cliff to scout a possible route for their descent and the rock that he stepped on gave way, causing both him and the rock to fall approximately sixty feet to a rock ledge below.

The identity of the decedent is being withheld at this time until proper notification of next of kin can be made.

Rescue personnel from the following agencies responded to assist: the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Boulder County Parks and Open Space, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, Sugarloaf Fire, Nederland Fire, and the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. All personnel were clear from the scene by 3 p.m.

The case number for this incident is 19-4907.


/s/ Sergeant Clay Leak