Custer County Search and Rescue responded for a recovery mission on Crestone Needle’s Ellingwood Arête route on Thursday September 3rd after receiving two 911 notifications just before 10:00 am. Western State Mountain Rescue Team and Saguache County SAR also participated as mutual aid in the two day mission.
Dr. Matt Davis of Belmote Texas died from injuries he sustained in the fall on the peak’s technical route. Davis was a trauma director who specialized in emergency surgery and surgical critical care and is survived by a wife and three children.
The mission was hampered by bad weather and impending darkness in the difficult terrain. Rescue teams retreated to a nearby campsite just before dark, where they spent the night in the field after planning the detailed recovery effort which began at 5am Friday morning. Recovery efforts included an 850 foot technical lowering operation. Teams then got Davis to a landing zone near the Upper South Colony Lake, where Flight for Life’s Lifeguard 4 assisted in the operation at 12:30pm. All teams were back at the CCSAR rescue barn and the mission concluded at 5:30 pm on Friday September 5th.
Alma Golden, posted on the CCSAR team’s Facebook page that “our family is eternally grateful to Custer County SAR. Matt loved Westcliffe and all our amazing mountains. Thanks for your endurance, professionalism, tender and respectful care. Thanks for bringing back my precious son.”