Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NEWS: Another Climber Killed in the Elks (6/25/13)

Pyramid Peak and the Maroon Bells
Pyramid Peak (left) and the Maroon Bells (right).
"Thunder Pyramid" lies behind Pyramid Peak in this photo
The Elk Range claimed the life of experienced mountaineer Steve Gladbach, 52, on Sunday. Gladbach went missing after summiting the notorious Thunder Pyramid with some companions. According to a person who was with him, Gladbach had successfully summited Thunder Pyramid and separated from his companions to side-hill traverse out onto "Lightning Pyramid" where the accident occurred. 

Gladbach was a highly experienced mountaineer who had climbed all 584 of Colorado's 13ers, and all of Colorado's 14ers during wintertime. He was also a father of two and a high school math teacher. Gladbach resided in Pueblo, Colorado.

Both "Thunder Pyramid" and "Lightning Pyramid" are regarded as some of Colorado's most dangerous mountains. The massif has been site of several deadly accidents over the years, including that of David Morano in September 2011. At 13,932 feet, Thunder Pyramid is Colorado's 65th highest mountain and "Lightning Pyramid" is Colorado's 137th highest peak. They are both located along the same ridge as 14er Pyramid Peak and near famous mountains, the Maroon Bells.

NOTE: The original story when posted included several incorrect details, including that the accident occurred on Thunder Pyramid when in fact Mr. Gladbach was actually on "Lightning Pyramid" when he fell. His group had summited Thunder Pyramid earlier that day and were on descent when he decided to traverse off Thunder Pyramid towards its neighboring peak. We also originally reported that he had "wanted to check out a waterfall he was interested in climbing in the winter." Though he was interested in climbing Thunder Pyramid during winter, no "waterfall" exists on this aspect of the mountain nor was he scouting one as a potential route at the time. We regret the errors.

-Climber Killed on Thunder Pyramid
-Statistical Analysis of Deaths on 14ers This Decade
-Sixty Highest Peaks in the Elk Range

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