The red pin in this image marks Blanca Peak. The grey pin found to the front left from Blanca shows a point on Gash Ridge, which can be seen leading to the summit. The point to the front right of the Blanca Peak point is Ellingwood Point, another popular fourteener. Image courtesy: @2021 Google Maps.

The red pin in this image marks Blanca Peak. The grey pin found to the front left from Blanca shows a point on Gash Ridge, which can be seen leading to the summit. The point to the front right of the Blanca Peak point is Ellingwood Point, another popular fourteener. Image courtesy: @2021 Google Maps.

According to a Facebook post from Alamosa Volunteer Search and Rescue, they have "made the very difficult decision" to suspend the search for missing hiker Vaughn Fetzer, last believed to be in the area of Gash Ridge off of 14,345-foot Blanca Peak.

The decision was made because continuing the mission would have pushed the search and rescue crews past their level of acceptable risk. The terrain they have been searching is extremely dangerous due to its technical nature, loose rock, and exposure.

During the search, one crew member was injured after being struck by a dislodged slab of rock. The rock fell several feet onto his right leg. The crew member was extracted by helicopter for medical care.

The announcement also notes that their search area has included all probable routes that have a significant risk of injury or death.

Other agencies that participated in this mission include Colorado Search and Rescue Association, Department of Fire Prevention and Control, Cañon City Helitak, Custer County Search and Rescue, Western Mountain Rescue Team, and the Alamosa County Sheriff's Office.

Vaughn Fetzer, 57, was last heard from on September 18. Our previous post with more detail about where crews were searching can be found here.

If you'd like to make a donation to Colorado Search and Rescue, that can be done on their website. Purchasing a CORSAR card is also another way to support their effort.

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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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