The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said Ryan Joseph Palmer, 35, of Vail is believed to have fallen Friday, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported. Two hiking companions notified authorities Friday night after Palmer failed to show up at their meeting place at Capitol Lake, the newspaper said.
Rescue crews located Palmer's body in a snowfield Saturday, but it was too late to begin recovery efforts, the newspaper said. His body was removed from the slope by Sunday afternoon.
Pitkin County Sheriff's Deputy Jess Steindler said Palmer had split off from his two friends while coming down from the mountain's 14,130-foot peak because he "did not want to renegotiate" the Knife Edge, the standard path down.
"He found a different route going off the north face," Steindler said.
Steindler said Capitol Peak is one of the more dangerous 14,000-foot mountains in Colorado and the newspaper said previous published reports indicate at least seven other people have died climbing it.
"It's very exposed and known to have an extreme amount of loose rocks," the deputy said. "A lot of people will turn around [at the Knife Edge]. It's very rugged."
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