The Knife Edge on Capitol Peak. Photo Credit: EntropyWorkshop (iStock).

The Knife Edge on Capitol Peak. Photo Credit: EntropyWorkshop (iStock).

According to a report from CBS Denver, the body of fallen climber Kelly McDermott will remain on Capitol Peak with no future recovery efforts planned at this time.

This news follows an accident that occurred while crews were attempting to recover McDermott's body on August 4 after a fatal accident involving McDermott took place on July 31. As crews made their way to his body, an "avalanche of rocks" came tumbling down, injuring multiple members of the search and rescue team. The rugged and loose terrain has continued to pose issues as search and rescue crews have attempted to form a plan to get McDermott's body off of the mountain for the past month. It has since been deemed too dangerous to continue with this effort.

McDermott's body is located below a loose ridge that is one of the final obstacles climbers of the mountain must face on their way to the summit. This infamous stretch of the mountain, known as the Knife's Edge, is perhaps the most visually dramatic ridge on any of Colorado's standard fourteener routes, presenting great risk to those that travel it.

This image shows a 3-D rendering of Capitol Peak, with the summit marked by the red icon. Below the summit (and slightly to the right), find a grey pin. This pin is on the Pierre Lakes location, which is where the search and rescue teams started their ascent from. The Knife Edge ridge can be seen above this, aptly named. Image Credit: @2021 Google Maps.

This image shows a 3-D rendering of Capitol Peak, with the summit marked by the red icon. Below the summit (and slightly to the right), find a grey pin. This pin is on the Pierre Lakes location, which is where the search and rescue teams started their ascent from. The Knife Edge ridge can be seen above this, aptly named. Image Credit: @2021 Google Maps.

While the rockfall incident that previously injured the recovery team was likely triggered by climbers that were on the ridge above, rockfall risk can be very unpredictable, triggered by something as small as a pika on the peak. This unpredictable nature of the slope creates a scenario that makes if difficult for the recovery team to reach the spot of McDermott's body and would make it very dangerous to have a full team in the area during the removal process.

Condolences go out to those impacted by the death of McDermott.

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Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.

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