As they’d said they would, Mountain Rescue Aspen and the Pitkin County Sheriff’s office resumed the search for missing 23-year-old climber Ryan Montoya early Tuesday. Then after their hours of exhaustive searching with 13 rescuers and 2 Colorado Avalanche Information Center staffers on the ground and a fixed-wing plane in the air, and finding his belongings, Montoya himself managed to climb down to Maroon Creek Road, where he was found by a runner just passing by late Tuesday afternoon. He was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital for treatment of frostbite and other injuries. He’d been out in the elements since being reported missing Sunday evening. During Monday’s search near Pyramid Peak where Montoya had been climbing Sunday, a sleeping bag and a pack were found in a small snow cave. Then Tuesday about 3 quarters of a mile above that, Montoya’s boots and skis were found tucked under a rock. However above that, the team found an avalanche zone. It was probed for hours, with nothing found. Montoya was spotted along the road by that jogger a little after 4 in the afternoon, and was at the hospital by 5. He’d survived blizzard snow conditions, winds estimated topping 80 miles an hour that kept a helicopter grounded, and more. Some of the rescuers expressed surprise Montoya was able to walk out on his own, but they sure were glad to see him, alive.
Unfortunately, not all the news from ski country has been that good the last few days. A 23-year-old airman stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora died Tuesday morning after snowboarding into a tree at the Eldora resort near Boulder. He had been wearing a helmet– his name wasn’t immediately made public. 15-year-old Wichita, Kansas high school sophomore Tess Smith died Sunday at Children’s Hospital in Aurora after crashing and breaking her leg last Friday at Breckenridge. Tess hadn’t been wearing a helmet at the time of her incident, apparently not involving a tree. A brother says she lost consciousness a short time later and never woke up again. Hers was the 4th Summit County and Breckenridge ski death of this season. One of the season’s fatalities has also been an unnamed 20-year-old man who hit a tree at Buttermilk while boarding without a helmet on the 19th of last month. Altogether, 9 people have died on Colorado slopes this skiing and riding season.
Felony drug possession charges against Aspen local Dennis McKeon were dismissed Monday, after an illegal search of McKeon by Aspen Police. The deputy DA said an Aspen officer who encountered McKeon when he was so intoxicated he couldn’t intelligibly speak about 2 one recent morning outside a local bar should not have searched his pockets without a warrant, since McKeon was only intoxicated, not accused of a crime. The officer found packages of cocaine totalling more than 3 grams, a scale covered in the drug, and some pills on McKeon. Under the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, the search was improper. McKeon’s defense lawyer congratulated the prosecutor on making the right call.
The high school basketball season all comes down to tomorrow night for the Basalt Longhorn boys’ team, a squad that’s gone 21 & 3 through the season and the playoffs so far. One of the men who’s been most exciting to watch has been junior Raul Torres. He’s constantly in motion, always looking to make something happen for his fellow Longhorns…
And this year’s appearance in the Great 8 after Basalt getting knocked out, barely, by 2 points in overtime, in last year’s round of 32, may mean the most to Coach Danny Martinez, Basalt High Class of 2001, whose team never became one of those elite squads…
The quarterfinal contest against the Kent Denver Sun Devils is scheduled to tip off around 8:30 tomorrow night, but could be later since games in both the boys’ and girls’ tournaments will be played all day on the same floor, for 12 hours before that. We’ll take the air half an hour before the tip, with The Romero Group pregame show, then enthusiastically bring you all the action, as we have throughout the season. Join me for 9th-seed Basalt and top seed Kent, tomorrow night, here on the Home Of The Longhorns, KSNO, The Mammoth!!