Washington Pastor Falls Hundreds of Feet to Death on Colorado Mountain Climbing Trip

by Michael Freeman
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Among hiking locations in the United States, Colorado is among the most popular. Unfortunately, last weekend, a Washington pastor fell hundreds of feet to his death while on a climbing trip there.

The man identified by social media posts is 44-year-old Jeremy Fuerst. The Custer County Search and Rescue Team reported on Facebook Fuerst fell sometime on Saturday. However, emergency crews couldn’t airlift his body from the dangerous terrain until Sunday.

Fuerst didn’t return from his climb Saturday night, so rescuers went looking for him. Saturday night, they spotted him dead at the bottom of a 300-foot traverse connecting Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. Early Sunday morning, a climbing team was able to reach his body and airlift it out of the area.

It is currently unknown how he fell, but the rescue team described him as “well-prepared,” with him having extensive climbing experience. Even so, the Custer County Search and Rescue Team reminded people on Facebook about the dangers of solo climbing.

“Custer County Search and Rescue would like to remind the public and recreational climbers that climbing solo can increase the risk of a catastrophic event. Even with the best preparation, accidents happen, and the consequences are much more severe when miles into the backcountry.”

Though initially unable to be identified, a Northwest Washington Synod, ELCA post recognized it was Jeremy Fuerst. He was a pastor at the Central Lutheran Church in Everett, Washington. The post also mentioned his wife, Shannyn, is a pastor at Faith Lutheran in Seattle.

Utah Man Dies From 200 Foot Fall While Hiking in Utah

Regrettably, Jeremy Fuerst wasn’t the only one to succumb to a climbing accident last weekend. In Utah, a 26-year-old man died on a challenging trail Sunday.

Andrew Acuff reportedly fell 200 feet after leaving his hiking group in Little Cottonwood Canyon, KUTV reports. A group crossing Cottonwood Ridge Traverse found his body near Dromedary Peak.

Increasing in popularity, Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler told Deseret News hikers need to be cautious of this trail. Even expert hikers should be wary of how dangerous it is.

“This trail is becoming increasingly popular, and the reality is it’s an incredibly dangerous trail which requires a very skilled hiker. When we talk about highly skilled, we’re not just talking about good physical condition. We’re talking about having really technical hiking skills in order to complete this.”

Acuff’s friends say he was hiking on the Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup or Wasatch-Uintah Ridgeline Trail. According to the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake, the trail is 32.2 miles long. The area is incredibly rocky and steep.

Deseret News news states climbing deaths around Utah and the West have greatly increased lately. In one 13-day stretch in Utah this spring, seven accidents and two deaths occurred. Remember, no matter how experienced a climber you are, it’s always a good idea to go with at least one other person.

Outsider.com