ALAMOSA, Colo. — The body of a Colorado Springs woman who went missing while hiking a fourteener in the Sangre de Cristo mountains has been found.
Joy Cipoletti, 60, was last heard from Saturday, when she messaged her daughter from the summit of Ellingwood Point, a 14,042-foot peak near Alamosa. Her body was found on Thursday.
Search and rescue crews began searching for Cipoletti on Sunday, when they found her car at the Zapata Falls trailhead. For the next four days, several teams searched the basin for Cipoletti, with no results.
On Thursday, the crew of a Blackhawk helicopter from Buckley Air Force Base spotted a red backpack that belonged to Cipoletti. A drone team from Park County Search and Rescue was dispatched to the area and located Cipoletti’s body, according to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office said “it was evident upon arrival that Joy had fallen a great distance.” Her body was taken to a landing zone and recovered from the mountainside by Flight For Life.
At least seven search and rescue teams from across Colorado joined in the search.
Cipoletti’s family described her as an experienced, well-equipped hiker. They shared the following message through the Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office Thursday night:
It is with the heaviest of hearts that the Cipoletti family says goodbye to our amazing Joy, who we love beyond words.
Joy’s strength and love of life impacted everyone who knew her. She played a deeply caring, active role in the lives of her three children, parents, three sisters and four brothers. As an avid hiker and outdoor adventurer, nature was Joy’s happy place. She shared this love of the Colorado outdoors with many people in her life.
Our hearts are broken by this sudden loss of our dear Joy.
Our family would like to thank the Alamosa Volunteer Search and Rescue, the Alamosa County Sheriff’s Department and the dozens of other amazing search and rescue volunteers and professionals who dedicated their time and expertise to search for and eventually find Joy. We can’t begin to show our appreciation and gratitude for how you searched for our Joy with the determination and care that you would show as if she were a member of your family. You are heroes to us and we are forever grateful to each and every one of you.”