The first climbing death of the summer occurred Wednesday on Maroon Peak, an official said Thursday.

Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteers have been in the field since Thursday morning and were waiting Thursday afternoon for a state firefighting helicopter to arrive at the peak outside Aspen to retrieve the 61-year-old man’s body, said Jesse Steindler, patrol captain with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

The man, who is not an Aspen local, was climbing the standard route on the peak – which is also known as South Maroon Peak – with three other men when he fell about 200 feet, Steindler said. The accident occurred at about 12,600 feet, he said. The Maroon Peak summit is 14,163 feet.

A fourth member of the party who remained behind and did not climb the peak was in contact with his friends through walkie talkies and hiked out of the wilderness about 7 p.m. Wednesday to report the incident, Steindler said. The other two men later hiked out about 2:30 a.m. Thursday, he said.

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