When he wasn’t working, Kelly McDermott, left, with two unidentified hikers in an undated photo, was always heading west, said his uncle.
ASPEN, Colo. — A 32-year-old Madison man died after a fall while attempting to climb a notoriously dangerous peak near Aspen, Colorado, earlier this week, officials said, while three rescuers attempting to reach him on Wednesday were injured in an “avalanche of rocks” evidently caused by other climbers.
Kelly McDermott was reported missing after failing to return from a climb of a 14,137-foot Capitol Peak on Sunday.
His body was spotted by a search helicopter in a precarious spot about 500 feet below the Knife Edge, a ridge that leads to the final climb to the mountain’s summit. Because of the location, it may take some time to recover his body, Pitkin County Undersheriff Alex Burchetta told The Aspen Times.
McDermott’s uncle, Cyril McDermott, said the news of his nephew’s death was a shock for the whole family.
The younger McDermott worked as a respiratory therapist at UW Health since 2015, Cyril McDermott said, and contracted COVID-19 while working in the ICU. His case was mild and he was cleared after a couple of weeks of isolation.
When Kelly wasn’t working, he would head out west and return with stories to tell, his uncle said.
“He was a very adventurous type,” he said. “He was always in motion; wasn’t one to sit around and watch late-night movies or that kind of thing.”