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Hiker dies in fall on Jagged Mountain

By Shane Benjamin Herald staff writer

A hiker fell several hundred feet to his death Thursday morning while climbing a rugged mountain near Chicago Basin north of Durango, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office said.

“He fell about 300 to 400 feet down a steep face,” said Sheriff Sue Kurtz.

The hiker’s identity and age were not released Thursday night.

Kurtz said he is not a local resident.

Authorities received a call about 9 a.m. from fellow hikers who had a personal locator beacon and a cellphone, said Jim Donovan, captain of San Juan County Search and Rescue.

The fall occurred on Jagged Mountain, a steep and rocky peak with a summit of 13,825 feet northeast of Chicago Basin in the Weminuche Wilderness.

“It’s one of the most technical thirteeners in the middle of the Weminuche Wilderness,” Donovan said.

Search and Rescue members called a helicopter to fly two members to the scene of the accident. After confirming the death, they packed the body in a litter and had the helicopter fly it to a base camp set up at Rockwood, north of Durango in La Plata County.

The man was hiking with two or three friends. They were given the option to walk out or be flown out, and they decided to walk out, Donovan said.

Based on their gear, the hikers seemed to be competent and experienced, he said.

A climber fell 230 feet to his death about this time last year near the top of Windom Peak, one of three fourteeners that make up the upper portion of Chicago Basin.


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