Family of missing climber issues statement after search called off

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The family of David Cook has issued a statement after the search for the experienced climber from Corrales was suspended near Aspen, Colorado.

Cook, 49, went missing in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area last week. The last confirmed sighting of Cook was by a Forest Service employee the morning of Sept. 20 near Maroon Lake.

The statement describes Cook as “an amazing father, husband, brother and son who places top priority to his wife and three kids.”

“As an experienced mountaineer with love for the outdoors and mountain climbing, he has completed 48 of Colorado’s 14,000 foot mountains,” the family statement said.

“We would like to give special thanks to the Pitkin County Sheriff Office, the Search and Rescue team of Mountain Rescue Aspen, the other teams from surrounding areas that came in to help, the volunteers, and all those who assisted in this search,” the family said.

The family also wanted to raise awareness that the peaks are among the most challenging out of all of Colorado’s 14,000 foot mountains.

“For those who are unfamiliar with the Maroon Bells, please note that the hiking and climbing routes have areas of very dangerous terrain,” the statement noted.

Bad weather last week hampered an aerial search for David Cook.

The decision to suspend the search operations was a joint decision made by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and rescue personnel.

“This decision was made after reviewing all search operations to date, current leads and information obtained from the public. If new information is presented in the future search operations may begin again,” according to a press release from Pitkin County. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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