Fruita, CO – At approximately 11:50 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, 2022, Colorado National Monument rangers were notified of a climber who fell.

The 67-year-old man was identified by the Mesa County Coroner’s Office as Andrew Whiteside, a resident of Lutherville Timonium, Maryland. Mr. Whiteside was climbing Ottos Route on Independence Monument with two friends when the fall occurred. He was leading the first pitch and was climbing out of sight of his companions when he fell approximately 30’, landing on the rocky ledge about halfway up the pitch.

Colorado National Monument rangers, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Mesa County Search and Rescue, and Lower Valley Fire District immediately responded.  Rescue crews hiked several miles and climbed up the rockface to reach Mr. Whiteside. He was deceased when rescuers arrived on scene.

The Mesa County Coroner’s Office has confirmed the cause of death as multiple blunt force injuries. Mr. Whiteside was wearing a helmet.

Colorado National Monument staff would like to extend their condolences to the climber’s family and friends.