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Search and rescue teams recover body of hiker missing since Sept. 18 on Blanca Peak

Search for Vaughn Fetzer_Alamosa Volunteer Search And Rescue
Posted at 7:51 AM, Sep 27, 2021

ALAMOSA, Colo. — Vaughn Fetzer, a hiker who has been missing since Sept. 18, was found deceased around the area of Blanca Peak near Alamosa.

Alamosa Volunteer Search And Rescue (AVSAR) started recovery operations Monday to bring his body off the mountain. The group asked for the public to stay out of the area, as the risk of rockfall is high.

AVSAR said Fetzer, 57, was hiking in the area of Blanca Peak, a 14,345-foot mountain in the Sangre de Cristo range, on Sept. 18 but was reported overdue after not returning when he was expected.

In the days afterward, multiple teams across the state gathered to help with the search and gather information from other hikers, some who saw Fetzer.

The area crews planned to search were "extremely technical" and "could be made even more dangerous for searchers by additional people in the area," AVSAR said.

On Thursday, the search and rescue team suspended its search, saying it "conducted this mission up to the edge of our acceptable level of risk."

The team said it covered terrain thoroughly and to the best of its ability. The search included all probable routes, and each one had significant risk of injury or death.

One team member who was working in an area called Gash Ridge was struck by a dislodged slab of rock in the couloir and was extracted out via helicopter.

On Sunday evening, the AVSAR announced Fetzer's body had been found and crews would recover him Monday.

Fetzer was a nurse at Mercy Regional Medical Center and worked on the medical surgical floor, according to the Associated Press.

It's not clear where he was found or the cause of death.