57-year-old climber Rei Hwa Lee fell to her death while climbing the north face of 14,014-foot North Maroon Peak, CO yesterday.
This was the 3rd climbing death in Colorado since Sunday.
This was the 6th death on a Colorado 14,000-foot peak this year. Just 3 days ago, on Sunday, a climber died on nearby 14,127′ Capital Peak, CO after falling off of “Knife’s Edge”. Another climber died on Boulder, CO’s flatirons on Sunday, as well. A climber died on 14,200′ Starlight Peak, CA yesterday.
Rei left her home in Colorado at 1am on August 5th, 2017 and was reported missing by her children on the evening of August 6th.
Search and rescue crews began searching for Rei on August 7th.
Rei’s body was spotted yesterday, August 8th on the north face of North Maroon Peak, CO at 12,600′.
2 members of Mountain Rescue Aspen and another HAATS team in a Blackhawk helicopter were able to recover Rei’s body and transport her to the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport where Lee was then transported to the Aspen Valley Hospital morgue.
PITKIN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE PRESS RELEASE:
Climber dies on North Maroon Peak
Pitkin County, Colorado –August 8, 2017 57 year old Rei Hwa Lee fell to her death on the north face of North Maroon Peak, which is located approximately 12 miles southwest of Aspen.
Lee’s children reported that Lee left her front range home at 1:00 am on Saturday August 5, 2017 and arrived at the parking area of the Maroon Bells at approximately 5:00 am. The Lee family contacted the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office on the evening of Sunday August 6, 2017 to report their mother being overdue from her hike. Initially it was unclear which peak Lee was going to summit based on the information the Sheriff’s Office received from the family.
On Monday August 7, 2017 a team from the all volunteer Mountain Rescue Aspen along with Summit County Flight for Life and Eco Flight, searched a vast area of the Maroon Bells Wilderness area by air and hiking teams. On Monday evening it was posted on 14ers.com that a woman was overdue in the Maroon Bells area, and several people responded to the post saying they saw her on her way up the summit of North Maroon Peak on Saturday morning.
With this new information search efforts on Tuesday were focused on the North Maroon Peak area. Four Mountain Rescue Aspen teams hiked in to search for Lee and a HAATS (High Altitude Aviation Training Site) helicopter with two members of Mountain Rescue Aspen was launched to search this concentrated area.
Shortly after HAATS was in the area, Lee was spotted on the north face of North Maroon Peak at approximately 12,600’. The two members of Mountain Rescue Aspen and another HAATS team in a Blackhawk helicopter were able to recover Lee and transport her to the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport where Lee was then transported to the Aspen Valley Hospital morgue.
It is unclear from where Lee fell or whether she summited the mountain. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Mountain Rescue Aspen, Summit County Flight for Life, Eco Flight and HAATS for their efforts in this search and rescue.