Photos: Ryan Palmer ID'd as climber who died on one of state's riskiest 14ers

Categories: News

Big photos, video below.
Ryan Joseph was originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but his love of the great outdoors drew him to Vail. And after relocating, he took every opportunity to head to the mountains, whether they were covered with snow or not. Unfortunately, though, Palmer has made his last climb. He died while attempting a difficult route down Capitol Peak, a Pitkin County site that tops out at more than 14,000 feet.

Details, photos and a video taken by Palmer from the summit of Mount Elbert below.

Palmer's Facebook page features loads of photos, many featuring party scenes. But such shots are outnumbered by pics of Colorado at its most rugged and beautiful, including this image....

...and a landscape from an album entitled "Vail's Highest Point:"

According to, Palmer, 35, made his living as an employee for an IT company -- but off the clock, he was a "man's man" who loved "snowboarding, riding mountain bikes and otherwise living life."

He was doing just that this past Friday when disaster struck. According to the Vail Daily, he and three friends reached the summit of Capitol Peak, one of the more dangerous of Colorado's 14ers; at least seven climbers have died after challenging it. But he split off from his companions because he didn't want to renegotiate the typical route down the summit -- a pathway known as the "Knife Edge." Instead, he took the north face of the peak.

His trio of pals went the regular way and made it down fine. But Palmer didn't turn up as expected, and at 7:15 p.m., his companions contacted the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office.

At that point, they had no idea Palmer had fallen.

On Saturday, volunteer rescuers, including personnel from Aspen's Eco Flight, learned Palmer's fate, spotting his body on the north face. He's estimated to have fallen 200 to 300 feet.

Palmer's body was recovered yesterday afternoon. Now, his friends and family are left to mourn a man gone much too soon. Our sincere condolences.

Look below to see more photos of Palmer, followed by one of his videos, captured atop Mount Elbert.

Continue for more Ryan Palmer photos, plus a video.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
RobertChase topcommenter

The standard route on Capitol is Class 4 with lots of exposure, i.e. it requires climbing rather than merely rock-scrambling, and falls may well be fatal.  I understand that the north face has been climbed in winter, but it is a technical climb, requiring equipment and the traversal of near-vertical stretches.  I take it that Ryan Palmer was equipped for climbing, but attempting to go down so dangerous a route without companions was beyond audacious.  The Elk Mountains are notorious for their rotten rock, which can easily break apart in one's hands.  Most of the fourteeners can be climbed without any rock climbing skills by keeping to the standard route, but on several (e.g. Capitol Peak, Pyramid Peak, and Little Bear) , the easiest route is Class 4, and those are where most deaths occur.  When I climbed Crestone Peak (Class 3), I met a slight, sixty-year-old tax attorney celebrating her last fourteener and birthday on the summit with her Yorkshire terrier, but I am leery of anything requiring more than rock-scrambling to get up


'SPLAT' !!!!!!!!!!!

" What was that ? ", cried the terrified young camper 

to his equally scared & wet, Scout leader !!!....

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault