Fatality on Blitzen Ridge in Rocky Mountain National Park
On Sunday, July 9, 2023, a 26-year-old female from Boulder, Colorado died after an approximate 500-foot-fall while free-solo climbing on the Four Aces of Blitzen Ridge in Rocky Mountain National Park. Blitzen Ridge is located on Ypsilon Mountain on the east side of the park.
A 27-year-old-male climbing partner, also from Boulder, notified park rangers, via cell phone, of her fall. Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members were able to reach him last night. Because of his location, the park requested assistance from a Colorado Air National Guard helicopter from Buckley Air Force Base to extricate the male climbing partner via a hoist operation, using a winch operated cable. He was uninjured. Rocky Mountain Rescue Group assisted with the helicopter hoist operations.
Early this morning, Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members hiked to the area above Ypsilon Lake to prepare for a helicopter long-line recovery. The victim’s body was flown by Northern Colorado Interagency Helitak to a helispot in the Upper Beaver Meadows area of the park. Her body was then transferred to the Larimer County Coroner/Medical Examiner’s Office who will determine the cause of death. The woman’s name will be released after next of kin are notified.
In addition to the Colorado Air National Guard, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, and the Northern Colorado Helitak, the park was assisted yesterday by a Flight for Life Air Ambulance for initial air reconnaissance.
Thumbnail Photo: Taylor Peak hoist operation; photo courtesy NPS
Update as of July 14, 2023:
The decedent was identified as Bailee Mulholland, age 26, of Boulder, CO by the Larimer County Coroner's Office.