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The original item was published from 9/16/2018 11:04:05 AM to 9/17/2018 9:05:19 AM.

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San Miguel County Sheriff News

Posted on: September 16, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Man Dies While Climbing Telluride's Via Ferrata


Man Dies While Climbing Telluride’s Via Ferrata


Contact: Susan Lilly, Public Information Officer 970-729-2028


September 16, 2018 -- (Telluride, CO) – A multi-agency response was required Saturday afternoon in an attempt to rescue a 74 year-old man who suffered a life-threatening medical event while climbing the Telluride’s Via Ferrata.

 The Grand Junction man and his step-daughter had just completed “the main event,” the most technical portion of the Via Ferrata at about 4pm when he sat down on a narrow ledge and became unresponsive. His step-daughter told responders he was pulseless and breathless, so she started CPR, called 911 and yelled for help.

 Telluride Fire Protection District EMS and Fire personnel, San Miguel County Sheriffs Deputies, and Telluride Deputy Marshals were dispatched. Because of the remote location, responders had to hike to the scene through treacherous terrain to reach the patient. 

 Meanwhile, a guided tour group on the Via Ferrata heard the woman’s cry for help and came to assist with CPR. After a total of nearly 45 minutes of resuscitative efforts, the man was pronounced dead at approximately 4:45pm. 

 Deputies and about a dozen Search and Rescue volunteers executed a five-hour, highly technical recovery mission. 

 Sheriff Bill Masters wishes to thank the dozens of responders and is appreciate of the cooperative efforts of local agencies. “Given our mountainous environment, we encounter incidents that require time and technical skills on treacherous terrain.”

 TFPD District Chief John Bennett is also appreciative of the multi-agency response. “I am proud of the collaborative efforts of our first responders. “Certainly this is an unfortunate outcome, and our thoughts are with the victim’s family. “

 Sheriff Masters also extends condolences to the victim’s family.

 The cause and manner of death is being investigated by the San Miguel County Coroner, per protocol; however, trauma was not a contributing factor. 

 The Via Ferrata sits at the East End of Telluride’s box canyon on the south side of Ajax Peak accessing a natural ledge system via man-made iron rungs and steel cables. It is an increasingly popular “climbing trail” that traverses horizontally with extreme exposure 400 feet above the mountainside. 




The San Miguel Sheriff’s Office, located in Telluride, Colorado and established in 1883, serves 7,800 residents and countless visitors across the 1,288 square miles of San Miguel County. Sheriff Bill Masters has been serving as the county’s elected Sheriff since 1980

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