Arizona woman falls to her death climbing Telluride's via ferrata route

Via ferrata route in Telluride, CO. (San Miguel County Sheriff's Office)

Authorities say an Arizona woman fell about 200 feet (61 meters) to her death while climbing the via ferrata route in Telluride.

The Telluride Daily Planet reports 53-year-old Anissa Laverne Larson, of Tucson, was traversing the route with a friend the morning of Aug. 5 when she apparently slipped and fell. 

The San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office says a climber behind Larson on the same ridge heard something alarming, turned and saw the woman below. He immediately called 911.

Rescuers set up a technical rope system to recover the body.

"This is a tragic accident and unimaginable loss for this woman’s family, and on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office, we offer our sincere condolences," Sheriff Bill Masters said. "The Via Ferrata is a hazardous climbing route that attracts more and more people each year. This incident is a horrible reminder of the dangers inherent to this climb." 

Sheriff Masters added, "In the last two days, we've had two demanding missions, both physically and emotionally, and I am genuinely appreciative of each and every one of these men and women."

Via ferrata routes allow climbers to scale iron rungs and footholds attached to rock walls. Climbers are secured by carabiner-like clips attached to cables. 

Investigators have not released any information about how Larson fell.

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