Why did a Colorado climbing coach get rescued from this popular climbing spot – with a cat in his backpack?

Boulders flatirons with the fall colors in the foreground
Rocky Mountain Rescue Group were reportedly unaware that the callout involved a feline subject (Image credit: SWKrullImaging)

A callout to a popular climbing spot in Boulder, Colorado took an unexpected turn last week when rescue crews arrived to find that in addition to two climbers, their subject included one cat – in a backpack. Rocky Mountain Rescue Group received the call Saturday night for the rock climbers who had become stranded atop the Flatirons, but it wasn't until they reached the party that they realized they were also charged with extracting their feline friend to safety. 

Boulder's Daily Camera reports that climber Austin Wolff had recently seen someone else climbing with their cat and thought it "would be cool" to take his feline companion, named Link, with him on a Colorado adventure before moving back to his home state of Texas. 

It turns out that Link is no stranger to adventure – she has her own Instagram account called @link.the.adventure.cat revealing she is two years old and was adopted in Texas. However, the pair bit off more than they could chew when they set off around 3:30 p.m., soon finding themselves in total darkness and without proper gear to make the descent.

RMSG, who jokingly described themselves in a Facebook post as "Moonlighting as MEOWtain Rescuers," seemed to take the surprise encounter in their stride.

"Although we primarily train for assisting humans, this week we had the opportunity to meet this adorable kitty when his human climbing partners became stuck in the dark on the First Flatiron."

They go on to report that they provided headlamps to the climbers – we assume they allows Link to reply on her in-built night vision – then lowered everyone safely to the ground on belay.

In the days since the kitty extraction, Reddit users have picked up on another curious detail making the story even more intriguing – Wolff is a climbing coach, operating his own business providing individual and small group climbing classes and coaching, leaving some users to wonder why he thought it would be a good idea to bring a cat, and how he became stranded.

"Can you imagine calling yourself a climbing guide after needing a rescue off what is widely known as one of the best first timer beginner climbs in the country?" writes one Reddit user.

The Flatirons do provide fairly easy rock climbing on most popular ascents, but rappelling off the back is technical, requiring knowledge of climbing safety, often requiring two ropes and is not a maneuver to be completed in the dark or by a novice.

This is the second time this week cats on the trail have made our news feed, after we reported on a New York cat that guides hikers on the Appalachian Trail – perhaps Link and Wolff want to trade in their climbing shoes for hiking boots when they get back to Texas?

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.