A Helicopter Retrieves the Body of a Kit Carson Peak Climber

Admin Emergency Services, Helicopter Search and Rescue

On Saturday evening, a helicopter together with its crew completed the search and rescue operation of a lost peak climber after retrieving her body. The 29-years-old mountaineer also known as Madeline Baharlou-Quivey, cliffed out, a scenario that resulted in a fatal fall on the Kit Carson Peak.

Amidst the challenging search endeavors, rescue crews were able to locate and recover her body in Saguache County. The body had been spotted on Wednesday, but due to harsh weather conditions and the challenging class 5 terrain she had fallen off, it took the effort of a helicopter and its personnel to complete the extremely daunting technical restoration of the 29-year-old mountaineer.

According to Anna DeBattiste who is a member of the Colorado Search and Rescue Association, the operation had been a success, and the rescue crew had returned to base before Saturday Midnight.

DeBattiste explained how the rescue crew from Alamosa Volunteer Search and Rescue used climbing harnesses and ropes, to navigate up the steep Spanish Creek side of the mountain, to get to the location of the mountaineer’s body from below.

Then a helicopter that was carrying the Saguache County Search and Rescue team took a position above the Alamosa climbers and lowered hauling hardware using ropes that were used to secure the body. The helicopter then airlifted and flew Madeline’s body off the peak of the mountain.

According to the reports released to the news outlets, the hitch-hiker had sent a distress signal on Monday evening. She detailed that she had gone off-course the Kit Carson’s peak route and she was in grave danger. She also pointed out her location explaining she was stuck below “The Avenue.”

A rescue team was dispatched the next morning but was unable to spot her due to harsh weather conditions on the peak. Later they discovered her body the next day, and after conducting comprehensive aerial observation, they realized she had died from the fall. Despite the rescue crew getting almost 100 feet to her location, they had to abort the mission when it became dark.

A recovery crew was put together again on Saturday morning. And after hours of hard work and strenuous climbing, they were able to complete the technical mission and recover the body successfully.

At the time, mountaineers had been urged to steer away from the trail because the rescue process was associated with rockfall.

Later, details about the unfortunate mountaineer—Baharlou-Quiver were disclosed, and they indicated that she had just secured a nursing job at Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center back in August.

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Photo Credit: Saguache County Search and Rescue