Telluride climber Eells' body recovered from Mt. Gilpin area

A search and rescue member climbs from the landing zone to the body of a Telluride climber who died while climbing Gilpin Peak. (SMCSO/Facebook)

An experienced outdoorsman died during an apparent fall while climbing Gilpin Peak, rural San Miguel County.

Rescuers who had been searching for Telluride climber Patrick Eells, 29, after he was reported missing Sunday night, recovered his body at an elevation of approximately 13,200 feet, south of the ridge between Dallas and Gilpin peaks, 3.5 miles from Telluride, according to information from the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Eells, who so clearly was in the prime of his life,” Sheriff Bill Masters said, in a provided statement Monday.

Eells had reportedly told his girlfriend on Sunday he was going to hike from Telluride and run on Sneffels Highline and possibly summit Mt. Emma. He was reported missing at 11 that night.

Search and rescue crews launched a search early Monday with several deputies and multiple aircraft. They located Eells’ body at 2 p.m. and transitioned to recovery efforts in rugged, snowy terrain.

Masters later extended thanks to his deputies and SAR teams, and, for their expertise with aircraft resources, he also thanked Mountain Blade Runner, Olathe Spray Service, Undersheriff Eric Berg and Telluride Regional Airport staff.

“We are fortunate to have the expertise and resources available with our staff, volunteers and regional partners to safely and efficiently accomplish a very difficult and technical mission today,” Masters said on Monday.

“We were all hoping for a better outcome and again, our condolences to Mr. Eells’ family.”

San Miguel County Coroner Emil Sante confirmed Eells as the victim and said his cause of death was “an apparent fall while climbing Gilpin Peak,” although the official cause and manner of death are under investigation.

Sante highlighted Eells’ contributions to the area community.

“Patrick’s contribution to Pinhead (Institute) and as a beloved person of our community will be sorely missed,” Sante’s statement read.

Eells is survived by his parents, his brother and his sister.

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