A climber fell hundreds of feet to his death on Thursday morning while traversing a narrow rocky ledge on Longs Peak.
A 26-year-old male from Golden was traversing a section of the mountain called the Broadway Ledge when he fell an estimated 600 to 800 feet, according to the official release from Rocky Mountain National Park.
A group of climbers called 911 after witnessing the unroped climber fall from the rocky ledge near the Fields Chimney landmark. Park rangers arrived on the scene and found the male victim deceased at the base of the Chimney.
The victim’s body was flown by Northern Colorado Interagency Helitak to a helispot in the Upper Beaver Meadows area of the park at about 3:45 p.m. His body was then transferred to the Boulder County Coroner.
While not confirmed by the official press release, it is likely the climber was on "Kiener's Route."
Kiener's Route, also known as the "Mountaineer's Route," is located on the east face of the mountain. The "Class 5.4" route involves technical climbing and requires climbers to traverse 1,000 feet across the Broadway Ledge. The loose and rocky ledge, which is less than a foot wide in some areas, is one of the most dangerous sections of the climb. Many climbers use ropes during this portion of the climb for safety.
Rising to an elevation of the 14,255 feet, Longs Peak is the highest rising mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. Due to its high exposure and fall risk, the fourteneer is also one of the deadliest in the state. Since 2000, more people have died on Longs Peak than any other fourteener, according to Westword.
The standard route for reaching the summit is the Keyhole Route. This 14.5-mile out-and-back trail is rated as a "Class 3" climb with an elevation gain of more than 5,000 feet.
The victim’s identity has not been released pending notification of next of kin.
Editor’s Note: Any mountain can be dangerous. Be prepared, know your route, and be ready to turn back if necessary. It's also extremely important to recognize the early symptoms of altitude sickness. Find more tips here.