A 21-year-old man was found dead Sunday after summiting Capitol Peak with a friend the day before, according to a press release from Pitkin County. This marks the fifth death on the 14,000 foot peak this summer and the seventh in the area.
Just after 8 a.m. Sunday morning, the PItkin County Sheriff's office received a call from Brandon Wilhelm of Pine, Colorado, who reported that his hiking companion was past due to return from the hike, about 15 miles west of Aspen.
The two friends had summited the peak together but split up on the way down. Wilhelm returned via the standard route, which traverses the narrow Knife Edge. The second climber attempted a direct route down the North Face. A statement from the Sheriff's office reads: “There is not an alternate route down the North Face of Capitol Peak unless you have extensive climbing experience.”
Members of Mountain Rescue Aspen were helicoptered in to the area and discovered the climber unresponsive, about 600 feet below a cliff band. The body was transported out by a flight for life helicopter.
On Friday, a memorial was held for locals Carlin Brightwell and Ryan Marcill, who fell to their deaths on Capitol last weekend. At the service, Ryan Marcil’s father Roger Marcil said he would spearhead an effort to introduce signage and education regarding the class four mountain.