A combined agency team located the body of Madeline Baharlou-Quivey on Kit Carson Peak on Wednesday, Saguache County Search and Rescue said.

Kit Carson Peak is accessed via Crestone. It's a 14,165-foot peak in Colorado's Sangre de Cristo mountain range.

The search for Baharlou-Quivey was prompted by a report of a climber who was off-route and cliffed out below the standard route up Kit Carson Peak, received about 8 p.m. Monday.

The report of the climber in need of help came from someone who Baharlou-Quivey was able to text message about the situation.

According to the reporting party, Baharlou-Quivey was an experienced climber, equipped with winter clothing, a bivy sack, and a supply of food and water.

The reporting party was also able to relay GPS coordinates to the search and rescue team of Baharlou-Quivey's last known spot on the mountain.

Upon investigation, the GPS coordinates pointed to a location in technical class five terrain, with approaching winter weather meaning a search and rescue team with winter alpine rescue training would be required.

A call for aid was sent out to search and rescue teams around the state, with plans to start a search in a narrow weather window in the predawn hours of Tuesday.

Two ground teams deployed into the area before dawn, with a Blackhawk helicopter provided by the Colorado National Guard joining the search soon after.

The helicopter was unable to locate Baharlou-Quivey during the initial search, leaving to refuel. Rapidly deteriorating weather conditions prevented the helicopter from returning.

Baharlou-Quivey had recently graduated from a nursing school in Denver, according to reports. 

Meanwhile, ground crews also faced dangerous winter weather, eventually forced to turn around because of strong winds, limited visibility, frigid temperatures and blowing snow after reaching the summit ridge of Challenger Point -- a point above 14,000 feet that's found along the standard route to the summit of Kit Carson Peak.

This map shows the location of Challenger Point and Kit Carson Peak, as well as the Spanish Creek Basin found beneath the southern slopes of Kit Carson. Photo Credit: @2021 Google Maps.

This map shows the location of Challenger Point and Kit Carson Peak, as well as the Spanish Creek Basin found beneath the southern slopes of Kit Carson. Photo Credit: @2021 Google Maps.

Crew members attempted to locate Baharlou-Quivey from various spots below the upper ridge, including the Kirk Couloir, the upper Willow Creek basin, and the Spanish Creek basin, but were unsuccessful, experiencing visibility of less than 100 yard at times.

Because of the winter weather conditions, crews were forced to leave the field with plans to return on Wednesday.

The search effort resumed at dawn with air support from the Colorado National Guard, Alpine Rescue and Colorado Department of Fire Prevention and Control.

Ground crews were dropped into the field again to re-summit Challenger Point, but were turned back by "thigh-deep, unconsolidated snow."

Crews were also airlifted into the Spanish Creek Basin in an attempt to reach the climber's last known location and to search the south slopes of Kit Carson Peak.

At approximately 3 p.m., members of Alamosa Volunteer Search and Rescue and Western Mountain Rescue Team were able to visually locate Baharlou-Quivey, with aerial crews confirming she was deceased from an apparent fall.

Winter weather conditions and the climber's proximity to a vertical wall made recovery operations via helicopter too dangerous.

Crews were able to climb within 100 vertical feet of the fallen climber's location, but had to turn back as nightfall approached. Recovery operations are set to continue when weather permits and when they can be conducted safely.

The exact location of where Baharlou-Quivey was located was not a detail that was released. The crews that located her were made up of Alamosa Volunteer Search and Rescue and Western Mountain Rescue Team, members of which had been dropped into the Spanish Creek Basin to search the south slopes of Kit Carson Peak.

This map shows the location of Challenger Point and Kit Carson Peak, as well as the Spanish Creek Basin found beneath the southern slopes of Kit Carson. Photo Credit: @2021 Google Maps.

This map shows the location of Challenger Point and Kit Carson Peak, as well as the Spanish Creek Basin found beneath the southern slopes of Kit Carson. Photo Credit: @2021 Google Maps.

The standard route to summit each of these peaks is notably strenuous, 15 miles round trip from the Willow Creek trailhead.

The standard route means 6,250 feet of vertical gain, requiring climbers to summit Challenger Point before dropping down to a saddle, then regaining elevation on the way to the Kit Carson summit.

On the return trip, climbers must drop back down to the saddle before re-summiting Challenger Point, then heading back down to the trailhead. The route means an extended period of time in technical terrain at a high elevation with a lot of up and down -- something that can be extremely taxing physically and mentally.

Kit Carson Peak Spencer McKee

Kit Carson Peak in the center. Challenger Point is located on the right, though the summit is out of view. Photo Credit: Spencer McKee.

The portion of the climb between Challenger and Kit Carson is rated as class three terrain, known for a relatively narrow section called "The Avenue."

After "The Avenue," climbers must ascend a steep, loose slope to reach the summit, returning along the same route during their descent. Route finding is rated as "considerable: and can be problematic if cairns are missed or covered by snow.