Missing Colorado Climbers Found Dead

Doctor Michael von Gortler, 53, and his daughter Makana von Gortler, 20, missing for more than a week, were found dead on Saturday, July 2, 2011.

Both the von Gortlers were experienced climbers and have taken such trips for many years. Dr. von Gortler has published several articles about climbing techniques and safety.

The von Gortlers had set out to climb Missouri Mountain in Colorado’s back country on June 22, 2011. They were supposed to return on June 24 and spend a few days at Dr. von Gorters vacation home in Buena Vista, CO before returning to Boulder by June 26. When family and friends did not hear from them by June 28 they notified authorities and the von Gortlers were officially declared missing. Search and rescue crews scoured the area for several days but were only able to spot the bodies with a helicopter.

Their bodies were discovered about 500 feet above the main trail, and their deaths are considered the result of an accidental fall. According to Randy Amettis, Chaffee County Coroner, both climbers died from blunt-force trauma to the head and neck and the injuries were consistent with an accident. Amettis said it appeared that the accident occurred on the day they set out for the climb.

Metier Law Firm – Denver Accident Attorneys

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