SAGUACHE COUNTY, Colo.– The body of 29 year old experienced hiker Madeline Baharlou-Quivey has been located in Class 5 terrain on Kit Carson Peak after several days of rescue attempts in light of inclement weather.
On Monday, Oct. 11, the Saguache County Sheriff’s Office received a report that a climber had gone off-route, cliffing out below the standard route on Kit Carson Peak. The individual who called the department said that they had received a text message from the hiker saying that they needed help from search and rescue.
The individual also said that the climber was experienced and had taken the necessary gear along to climb, as well as had sumited other 14ers.
In the pre-dawn hours on Tuesday, Oct. 12, ground teams trained in alpine conditions were deployed in an attempt to beat the winter storm to the rescue area.
On Wednesday October 13, 2021 a combined agency search team located the body of Madeline- Baharlou-Quivey in Class 5 terrain on Kit Carson Peak.Saguache County Sheriff’s Office received a call October 11, 2021 at 20:18 for a climber who was off route and cliffed out below the standard route on Kit Carson Peak.
The Colorado National Guard deployed a Blackhawk helicopter to the search area just after dawn with rescue technicians from the Alpine Rescue Team. An aerial search of the given GPS coordinates and immediate surrounding area was conducted but was unable to rescue the hiker.
Alamosa Volunteer SAR was able to reach the summit ridge of Challenger Point but was forced to turn back by very strong winds, blowing snow, limited visibility, and air temperatures below freezing. Chaffee SAR South climbed to the bottom of the Kirk Couloir to attempt to locate the subject from below and searched much of the upper Willow Creek basin in visibility conditions of less than 100 yards.
Chaffee SAR – North deployed to the area and searched the Spanish Creek basin to the base of the southern slopes of Kit Carson Peak.
All search efforts were unsuccessful in locating the subject and were forced because of inclement weather to leave the search area.
On Wednesday, Oct. 13, search efforts resumed with air assets from Colorado Air National Guard, Alpine Rescue and Colorado Department of Fire Prevention and Control and Cañon Helitac. Multiple SAR ground teams deployed to the search area. A Custer County SAR team was airlifted from Westcliffe to the Willow Creek Basin and attempted to reach the summit of Challenger Point, but was turned back by thigh deep, unconsolidated snow.
The teams from Saguache SAR, Alamosa Vol. SAR, Chaffee SAR – South, Chaffee SAR – North and Western Mountain Rescue were airlifted into the Spanish Creek Basin to attempt to reach the climber’s last known location as well as search the south slopes of Kit Carson Peak.
A combined AVSAR/Western Mountain Rescue Team located the subject and confirmed that the climber was deceased from an apparent fall. The CONG Blackhawk approached for a hoist operation, but the subject’s proximity to a vertical wall made that maneuver unsafe.
Western Mtn. Rescue climbed to within 100 vertical feet of the subject’s location, but there was not adequate time before nightfall to make the recovery. At this time, recovery operations will resume as weather and rescuer safety permit.
Baharlou-Quivey had just graduated from a nursing school in Denver.
“She really was an amazing young woman. I know people say that when people die, but people said that about her when she was living,” said Roxanne Baharlou Cornebise, the hiker’s aunt.