Crestone Eagle, September 2008:
Climber dies in 1700 ft. fall near
by Mary Lowers
Robert Koudelka, 44, of Dallas TX fell to his
death descending from the Crestone Needles area the afternoon
of Saturday August 9. It appears he fell nearly 1,700 feet
according to a Saguache County Sheriff’s Office release.
Saguache County Search & Rescue and Custer County Search
& Rescue in cooperation with the Saguache County Sheriff’s
Office began a search Saturday August 9 which culminated in
the recovery of the deceased climber.
Search & Rescue teams were called out late in the afternoon
of August 9, when Koudelka’s climbing companion reported
him missing. The men had ascended the peaks from the Custer
County side of the Sangre de Cristo range. According to Mike
Sullivan, lead member of the Saguache County Search and Rescue
who found Koudelka, “He apparently made a seriously
wrong turn on the way down. It’s easy to get turned
around at the spot he evidently fell.” The weather at
the time of the accident was rainy, cloudy and foggy.
Search & Rescue volunteers found Koudelka’s battered
body Sunday on the Saguache County side of the divide. The
body was brought down to Cottonwood Lake where a Blackhawk
helicopter could land to transport the body to El Paso County
for an autopsy. His wife and three sons survive Koudelka who
was married for 18 years. This is the second climbing death
this year in Saguache County.
Mike Sullivan would like to thank the Saguache County Search
& Rescue team for their excellent work. Team members participating
in this search included: Talmath Lakai, Cheryl Waschenko,
Jack Siddal, Sarah Koehn Frey, Eric Frey and Deputy Nick Tolsma
of the Saguache County Sheriff’s Office. At the close
of their August 11 press release, “The Saguache County
Sheriff’s Office would like to remind persons climbing
and hiking in the mountains this time of year that weather
conditions change rapidly and can include low clouds, heavy
rain, hail, and lightning. Persons in the mountains should
expect these conditions and be prepared for them.”
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