Solo climber dies in 900ft fall from Capitol Peak after handhold breaks away

Capitol Peak, Colorado
(Image credit: Getty)

A woman from Denver has died after falling 900ft in the Rocky Mountains. The woman was climbing Capitol Peak solo when the handhold she was using broke away from the rock face.

As the New York Post reports, a hiker alerted emergency services early on Saturday morning after seeing the woman fall into the rocky Pierre Lakes Basin. Rescuers believe the accident happened while she was navigating the route that connects the knife edge to the Capitol Peak summit.

Capitol Peak is known as one of Colorado's most difficult 14ers (mountains over 14,000ft high). According to climbing site Summit Post, the standard route to the peak isn't exceptionally challenging, but shouldn't be underestimated as there are no easy points to bail off if weather conditions take a turn for the worse. After the accident, officials described the area where the woman fell as "treacherous" due to loose terrain.

Solo climbing

In solo climbing, the person climbs alone without the help of a belayer. There are several different types: free soloing, in which the climber uses no equipment to secure them to the wall; deep water soloing, which is the same, but over a body of water that will break a fall; and rope soloing, in which the climber has a rope as a backup.

It's not known whether the woman who fell from Capitol Peak was climbing with or without a rope. Authorities are attempting to contact her next of kin before revealing her identity.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.