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Missing hiker found dead in mountains north of Telluride

A search, rescue and recovery effort for a missing hiker took place in the rugged area between Dallas Peak and Gilpin Peak on Sunday. (Courtesy San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office)
Resident was experienced mountaineer, Sheriff’s Office says

A missing hiker died from an apparent fall while hiking in the mountains 3½ miles north of Telluride.

According to the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, search and rescue crews found Patrick Eells dead Monday afternoon below the ridge between Dallas Peak and Gilpin Peak at 13,200 feet elevation.

He had suffered “traumatic injuries from an apparent fall while hiking alone on the Dallas-Gilpin Ridge,” according to a Monday post on the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office Facebook account.

Eells, an experienced mountaineer from Telluride, told his girlfriend Sunday he would hike from Telluride and run on the Sneffels Highline, and possibly summit Mount Emma.

He was reported missing 11 p.m. Sunday, and a search and rescue mission was launched early Monday with about a dozen sheriff’s deputies and search and rescue members assisted by aircraft.

The public was advised at 4 p.m. Monday that a recovery mission was underway and to stay out of the upper Mill Creek Basin area below Gilpin Peak until the mission was completed.

A technical rescue mission was launched Monday to search for a missing hiker in the mountains north of Telluride. (Courtesy of San Miguel County Sheriff's Office)

Search and rescue crews negotiated steep terrain and snowfields during the technical search and recovery mission. A helicopter conducted low flights in the area.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Eells, who so clearly was in the prime of his life,” said Sheriff Bill Masters in a Facebook post.

Masters thanked agencies that supported the search effort, including San Miguel Search and Rescue, sheriff’s deputies, Mountain Blade Runner, Olathe Spray and Telluride Regional Airport, for their expertise and aircraft resources.

“We are fortunate to have the expertise and resources available with our staff, volunteers and regional partners to safely and efficiently accomplish a very difficult and technical mission today,” Master’s said. “We were all hoping for a better outcome, and again our condolences to Mr. Eells.”

jmimiaga@the-journal.com

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