“The Deadly Bells” | Colorado SAR Performs Final Search On 14,000′ Peaks For Missing Climber Dave Cook

LadyBrains | ClimbingClimbing

A final search for a missing climber from September 2016 was done in the Maroon Bells on Wednesday August 16, 2017.

“The Deadly Bells” once again, live up to their nickname. 

The infamous Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains of Colorado, Maroon Peak, at 14,163 feet and North Maroon Peak at 14,019 feet, nearly 12 miles south of Aspen. Pyramid peak is a 14,025 feet peak that is close to the Bells. The Bells got their “deadly” name in 1965 when eight people died in five separate accidents.

Missing Climber Dave Cook’s objective was to climb the Maroon Bells as well as Pyramid Peak. A Facebook page to find information from the climbing community explains the details:

“David Cook of Albuquerque is a former Marine who authorities say has a wealth of experience in the backcountry went missing on 9/19 or 9/20 in Aspen, CO.

Dave’s plan was to hike the Maroon Bells 9/19 and Pyramid Peak on 9/20.

On Monday, he planned to go up South Maroon, do the traverse, and then down North Maroon.
He entered the park at 11am on 9/19 and was identified on South Maroon at 1:40 pm.
There were cell phone pings on the summit between approximately 4-6 pm. It cannot be determined which peak the ping was coming from.
A parking attendant says she saw Dave on Tuesday morning 9/20. His map for Pyramid Peak was still in his car, although perhaps he just forgot the map. Dave did not have him crampons with him, but did have micro spikes.
Dave was wearing khaki pants, a long sleeve black shirt, a blue helmet, and if he had a jacket with him, best guess is it was grey.
SAR and the Pitkin County Sheriffs office did a good job searching. There were multiple helicopters, boots on the ground, a plane with a million dollar camera, and SAR dogs used in the search. We were unable to use drones.” – Find Dave Cook Facebook Page

Although Cook has been missing for almost a year, a search was led last week in the general area of the Maroon Bells.  No clues were found as to the whereabouts of the missing man and no further searches are scheduled.

Maroon Bells, Image: wikipedia

Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office 
Press Release
For Immediate Release

Search for missing climber Dave Cook continues

Pitkin County, Colorado — 8/16/2017 — Search teams from Mountain Rescue Aspen, Garfield County Search and Rescue, West Elk Search and Rescue, and Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States (SARDUS), continued to search for Dave Cook, a climber from Corrales, NM, who went missing in September of 2016.

Canine search teams were inserted into the Fravert and Lost Remuda basins via helicopter around 6:00am on Saturday, 8/12/2017. Fravert Basin is on the west and south side of Maroon Peak, while the Lost Remuda Basin is on the west side of North Maroon Peak. Additionally, ground teams searched the area of the East Maroon trail as well as the Minnehaha Gulch and near Crater Lake in the area known as the Garbage Chute.

Searching started around 7:00am on Saturday, and lasted approximately nine hours. All searchers were out of the field by 3:30pm. Unfortunately, no viable clues as to Mr. Cook’s location were discovered.

On Wednesday, 8/16/2017, the search for Mr. Cook continued with climbers ascending Maroon Peak, North Maroon Peak, and Pyramid Peak. Teams also searched the west side of Maroon and North Maroon Peak from the Fravert and Lost Remuda basins.

In addition to Mountain Rescue Aspen personnel, Wednesday’s search was comprised of volunteers from the Alpine Rescue Team in Evergreen, Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group from Boulder, Colorado, the Vail Mountain Rescue Group from Edwards, CO, and Colorado Forensic Canines from Bailey, CO.

Searching started around 5:30am on Wednesday, and lasted approximately 10 hours. All searchers were out of the field by 3:45pm. There were no clues revealed during Wednesday’s search, and at this time there are no further searches planned.

The members of the all-volunteer Mountain Rescue Aspen wish to remind backcountry users to always share their routes and plans with people before heading out to the backcountry. Additionally, mountain weather changes quickly, so people should be prepared for all sorts of conditions while in the backcountry.

For more information contact:
Deputy Grant Jahnke

Elk Mountains, Pyramid Peak, Image: SummitPost.org

This summer has been notorious so far in claiming the lives of climbers on 14 er’s in Colorado as well as California. 

4 people have now died on Capitol Peak, CO this summer.

8 people have died on Colorado 14,000-foot peaks this year.

1 person has died on a 14,000-foot peak in California this year and another person is missing on a CA 14er who is most likely deceased.

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