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Wisconsin Climber Kelly McDermott's Body To Remain On Capitol Peak Indefinitely

PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - No future recovery efforts are planned for a man who suffered a fatal fall from the climbing route on Capitol Peak more than six weeks ago. Alex Burchetta of the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office confirmed that a virtual meeting recently took place between Pitkin County authorities, rescue personnel and members of the family of Kelly McDermott.

Kelly McDermott
(credit: Colorado Search and Rescue Association)

The Pitkin County team told the family it did not see a way to safely recovery the body at this time.

"It was a difficult decision, but we've collectively decided to leave Kelly McDermott's body on the mountain where it currently rests," Burchetta told CBS4. "We've spent the past month or so working on alternate recovery plans and simply were not able to come up with one that provided the level of safety necessary to conduct another recovery mission."

Kelly McDermott
(credit: Colorado Search and Rescue Association)

Three out of four Mountain Rescue Aspen personnel were injured by rockfall during a recovery operation Aug. 4, one of them seriously. It is believed the rockfall was triggered by a climber above the rescuers.

McDermott, 32, was reported overdue from his climb of Capitol on July 31. His body was discovered 500 feet below the peak's renowned Knife's Edge by a National Guard helicopter crew.

knife edge 5 (Heather and Will Rochfort)
A climber on "Knife Edge" on Capitol Peak. (credit: Heather and Will Rochfort)

Burchetta told CBS4 that conditions may change which would permit the safe recovery of McDermott's body. He did not elaborate on the nature of those conditions.

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