Hiker falls to her death on cliffs near Buffalo Pass

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— A hiker fell to her death Sunday night at cliffs near Buffalo Pass, sheriff’s officials said yesterday.

The Routt County Sheriff’s Office learned of the incident shortly after 6 p.m., investigator Paul Pirnat said Monday. Routt County Search and Rescue and the sheriff’s office responded, as well as a medical evacuation helicopter from Cheyenne, Wyo.

The victim, whose name remained with-held last night pending notification of relatives, was not located until 11:45 p.m. Sunday, Pirnat said. Described only as a woman in her 40’s, she was found dead at the scene.

Due to darkness and rugged terrain, the body could not be retrieved until Monday, Pirnat said.

Reports that the woman’s hometown was Fort Lauderdale, Flam, could not be confirmed at press time Monday, nor could a report that she and her husband, who accompanied her on the hike, may own property in northwest Colorado.

The fall occurred just inside the Jackson County border on the Continental Divide, near the northwest edge of Round Mountain Lake, Jackson County sheriff Gary Cure said. Jackson sheriff’s investigators and their search and rescue team received assistance from their Routt County counterparts to retrieve the victim.

“I know it’s treacherous terrain, with lots of crevices,” Cure said.

Routt County under sheriff Art Fiebing said the woman fell 200 feet before striking cliffs and falling further. Those who rappelled down the cliff for the retrieval planned to descend 300 feet, he said.

Little was released Monday of the circumstances leading to the tragedy, five miles northeast of Summit Lake. The retrieval operation consumed the entire day Monday, with crews continuing the job past 8 p.m.

Cure said after the woman fell, her husband reportedly tried to get down to her, but injured his ankle. After crawling some distance, a passing motorist took him to Routt memorial Hospital in Steamboat Springs. From there he called the Sheriff’s office.

Investigations of the incident will continue, Cure said. “We have to investigate the scene to make sure everything is according to what (the husband) told officers,” he said.

Sheriff’s investigators and search and rescue workers at the scene could not be reached for comment Monday night.

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