A hiker who went missing Sunday on Pyramid Peak was found “alive and in good spirits” on Tuesday after two nights in the backcountry, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
Neil James Brosseau, 66, of Denver, was climbing Pyramid Peak with two family members on Sunday when one of those members “got spooked” and she and her husband elected to stay behind near the 13,000-foot saddle, while Brosseau continued toward the summit, sheriff’s deputy Ryan Voss said. The plan was for Brosseau to rendezvous with the other two after summiting. One of the two who stayed behind reported seeing Brosseau downclimbing from a distance, but after 2 p.m., he was not seen again. The other two members of the group hiked out and alerted authorities, who got the call at 6 p.m. Sunday.
Mountain Rescue Aspen and the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of a Blackhawk helicopter team from the Army National Guard’s High-Altitude Aviation Training Site in Gypsum, spent 13 hours searching for Brosseau on Monday with no positive results. On Tuesday, MRA and sheriff’s officials resumed the search, with the assistance of a helicopter from CareFlight.
Brosseau had not been found and rescuers were hiking out of the field, when MRA members encountered him in the East Maroon Creek Valley at about 3:45 p.m., according to a press release. As of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, MRA members were hiking out with Brosseau.
Based on preliminary reports from MRA members, Brosseau was “tired and exhausted” but “alive and in good spirits,” Voss said.
At some point in his way down Pyramid, which is a class-four difficulty 14er 12 miles from Aspen, Brosseau is believed to have gotten off the route. To reach the East Maroon Creek Valley from the upper slopes of Pyramid, one would have to descend the wrong side of the summit ridge from the main route.
Brosseau eventually “bumped into” some hunters who fed and helped care for him, Voss said, though exactly when the contact with the hunters occurred is unclear pending a complete interview with Brosseau by MRA and sheriff’s office personnel.
Brosseau was in the backcountry for two nights after he became separated from his party.
Voss described the case as “bizarre but a miracle and great news.”