It was a beautiful day at Rocky Mountain National Park, but it ended in tragedy for one young woman. A 26-year-old from Boulder, Colorado, died after falling approximately 500 feet while free-solo climbing a ridge in the park on Sunday.
The woman, whose name has not been released, was climbing with her 27-year-old partner on Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Mountain when the accident occurred. Her partner called park rangers to report the fall, and a search and rescue team was dispatched to the scene.
Free-solo climbing is a risky technique in which climbers ascend without ropes, assistance, or safety equipment. This leaves them without protection in the event of a fall. Unfortunately, this is what happened to the young woman.
The search and rescue team reached the uninjured climbing partner on Sunday night. Due to his location, they requested assistance from the Colorado Air National Guard to extricate him via a hoist operation using a helicopter from Buckley Air Force Base.
On Monday morning, the search and rescue team hiked to the area above Ypsilon Lake to prepare for a helicopter recovery of the woman’s body. The body was flown to another part of the park and then transferred to a medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death.
This is the second reported death in Rocky Mountain National Park this month. A 25-year-old man died last week after falling and being pulled underwater at the park’s West Creek Falls.