Mountain Rescue Aspen Continues to Search for Climber Missing Since 2016 on 14,000′ Maroon Bells

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Dave Cook

“There’s really nothing we haven’t searched yet. Mountain Rescue has spent probably 1,000 hours searching, so we’ve been thorough, that’s for sure.” — Pitkin County Deputy Grant Jahnke told the Aspen Times yesterday

49-year-old Dave Cook from New Mexico has been missing in the Maroon Bells area of Colorado since September 2016.  

Mountain Rescue Aspen and Colorado Forensic Canines search for signs of him yesterday to no avail.

11 people have died on Colorado 14,000-foot peaks in 2017.

The Deadly Bells
The Deadly Bells

About Dave Cook:

“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,  September 2016

Maroon Bells, CO.
Maroon Bells, CO.

Mountain Rescue Aspen Press Release 

Search efforts continue for missing climber

Pitkin County, Colorado – 9/27/2017 – On Wednesday, September 27th, three teams of volunteers comprised of members from Mountain Rescue Aspen and Colorado Forensic Canines continued the search for Dave Cook, a climber who has been missing in the area of the Maroon Bells since September of 2016.

The Maroon Bells are two peaks about 12 miles southwest of Aspen that are both over 14,000 feet high. Pyramid Peak, another 14,000 foot peak, is located a short distance from the Maroon Bells.

Starting at 7:00am on Wednesday, teams began searching areas known as the Fravert basin, the Lost Remuda basin, and the “Amphitheater” near Pyramid Peak.

Members of Mountain Rescue Aspen assisted handlers and dogs from Colorado Forensic Canines. Three dogs total were used during the search, and all of the dogs are certified in Human Remains Detection.

Searchers were unable to locate any signs of Cook or clues to his whereabouts.

All searchers were out of the field by 3:30pm on Wednesday.

Volunteers from Mountain Rescue Aspen would like to remind the public to always be prepared for changing weather conditions when venturing into the backcountry. Additionally, always share route information with people and have a rescue plan in case of emergency.

For more information contact:
Deputy Grant Jahnke

Maroon Bells, CO.


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