PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. – A climber missing for more than two days near Pyramid Peak, south of Aspen, was found alive Tuesday afternoon by search and rescue crews.
Ryan Montoya, 23, had set out to climb the 14er on Saturday morning, but did not return Sunday evening as anticipated.
Crews with Mountain Rescue Aspen and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center searched for Montoya all day Monday, eventually finding a snow cave he built. His sleeping bag and other items were found inside, but Montoya was not located.
Crews set out again on foot Tuesday morning in hopes of finding Montoya, and enlisted a small airplane to help. A Blackhawk helicopter that crews had planned to use never launched because of high winds.
The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said search and rescue crews were able to climb above the snow cave on Tuesday, and that they found his skis and ski boots under a rock about three-quarters of a mile above his cave.
But just above where his skis were found, crews discovered that a large avalanche had slid down Pyramid Peak all the way to the valley below.
They searched from 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the avalanche zone, but could not find Montoya.
But a person found Montoya close to the East Maroon Portal -- north of Pyramid Peak -- around 4:15 p.m and notified the sheriff's office. The search and rescue crew retrieved him, took him to the T Lazy 7 Ranch and then on to Aspen Valley Hospital, where he is being treated for frostbite injuries.
Montoya is originally from California and is said to be an experienced climber.