Missing hiker found dead on Blanca

Vaughn Fetzer

ALAMOSA– Recovery efforts were reportedly started Monday to remove the body of Vaughn Fetzer, 57, off the Blanca Peak area. He had last been heard from on Sept. 18th.

The search was called off on Thursday when a member of the Alamosa Volunteer Search and Rescue (AVSAR) was apparently injured by a falling rock slab. The exact location of the hikers’ remains was not disclosed.

AVSAR posted on Facebook on Thursday that, “AVSAR conducted this mission up to the edge of our acceptable level of risk. That specific environment has significant inherent risk due to the hazardous terrain including steep loose terrain and exposure.

“We took calculated risks and deployed our team with intentionality to cover that terrain thoroughly to the best of our ability and with a margin of safety. Our search area included all probable routes each of which have significant risk of injury or death.

“Even with teams deployed taking every precaution possible to protect themselves in this environment, things still happen. One team member who was on a team of three searching the Gash Ridge, was struck by a dislodged slab of rock in the couloir that fell several feet onto his right leg. He was extracted by a helicopter, evaluated by EMS, and later seen by Emergency Room Physicians.’

The identify and condition of the searcher was unavailable.

AVSAR thanked all personnel involved in the search and asked the community to keep Fetzer’s loved ones in their thoughts.

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