One fatality, one man injured in back-to-back Longs Peak accidents |

One fatality, one man injured in back-to-back Longs Peak accidents

Reid Tulley

A 20 year-old man fell 150-feet to his death while climbing Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park on Thursday, Aug. 15.

The man, identified as Paul Nahon of Springfield, Mo., was climbing The Narrows section of the Key Hole Route on Longs Peak, the only fourteener in the park, which rises 14,259 feet above sea level. An off-duty park ranger and the man’s climbing partners reached the man, who survived the fall, but he later died from “multiple traumatic injuries,” according to a press release from Park officials.

Ice was present along several locations along the Keyhole Route at the time the accident took place.

Park rangers began efforts to recover the man’s body utilizing a helicopter, but were unable to recover the body due to high winds the day of the accident.

Recovery efforts of the man’s body were further delayed Friday morning, when rangers received a report of a climber on the east face of Longs Peak who had taken a 50-foot roped fall around 7:30 a.m. and suffered numerous serious injuries.

Resources gathered for the recovery of Nahon’s body were then focused on assisting the 34 year-old climber from Arvada.

A park ranger and medic climbed up the North Chimney to reach the injured climber. Two additional rangers rappelled from Chasm View to the man. The rangers performed a 500-foot technical lower down the North Chimney where they met up with additional resources. The man was then transported via a rescue litter to Mills Glacier where he was flown by Flight for Life helicopter to Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Denver around 5:30 p.m.

“The resources that were in place and the timeliness of the response were critical in getting the climber to advanced medical care,” according to a press release from park officials dated Aug. 18.

Nohon’s body was recovered Sunday, Aug. 18 and was transferred to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office.

Park rangers were assisted by Rocky Mountain Rescue and Larimer County Search and Rescue.

Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334

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