Colo. climber who died was "in best shape of his Life"

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Colo. climber who died was "in best shape of his Life"

Postby Todd » Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:41 am

Arvada climber who died at Crestone was "in best shape of his life"
By Kieran Nicholson
The Denver Post

To celebrate his 50th birthday, Keith Rose of Arvada had planned to scale 50 of Colorado's 14ers in a 30-day span.

Rose, an experienced climber, died Monday in a fall while descending Crestone Needle in southern Colorado.

A businessman and web page designer, Rose took off the entire month of August to carry out his goal, following his birthday in March.

"He was in the best shape of his life," said Cheryl Hedlun, his stepdaughter. "He was physically fit to do it."

Rose hiked and climbed mountain peaks most of his life, leading small groups of climbers on a great many Saturday outings. He reserved Sundays for hiking with family, Hedlun said.

Fifteen years ago Rose took the woman who became his wife, Karen, on a first date, climbing in the mountains west of Boulder. Rose's three children and Karen's four children joined the couple.

"We were the Brady Bunch," Hedlun recalled chuckling.

On Monday, Rose was using a new GPS device on the Crestone dual climb - summitting both the Peak and the Needle — and he was referring to detailed trail maps, as well.

The evening of the descent a dense fog swept across the mountain, Hedlun said, and it may have disoriented Rose as he came down. He came across a couple from Great Britain and they talked for a while, but they wound up taking separate paths.

Rose fell about 30 feet in the Broken Hand Pass section, said Art Nordyke, Custer County Coroner.

A flashlight was found beside his body, Nordyke said. Rose, who was equipped with a helmet for the climb, was alone at the time of the fall. He also had a cell phone with him, but there was no signal in the area.

After finding his unattended vehicle in a trailhead parking lot, the Custer County Search and Rescue team looked for Rose on Tuesday. They found his body at about 12,500-feet elevation but were unable to immediately extract it because of stormy weather.

On Wednesday a team started up the mountain at about dawn and Rose's body was carried out by about noon.

"It's a mystery to us, what really happened," Hedlun said.

As part of his goal of climbing 50 peaks, Rose had climbed Pikes Peak​, Humboldt Peak, Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. His next climb would have been Mount Lindsey.

A graduate of Green Mountain High School in Lakewood, Rose enjoyed camping and held a black belt in Taekwondo.

Hedlun recalled Rose as a "motivated...inspirational leader" who "enjoyed life."

"He was really, really happy when he stated this trip," Hedlun said. "We have peace in knowing how happy he was."

Rose is survived by his wife, Karen; parents, Chet and Diana; a sister, Kimberly; three children; four step-children; and nine grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the First Avenue Presbyterian Church, 120 W. 1st Ave., Denver.

Memorial contributions may be made to Custer County Search and Rescue, P.O. Box 1092, Westcliffe 81252.

"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." Calvin Coolidge
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