Search for missing Aspen skier to resume today
March 11, 2013
ASPEN – Authorities are expected Monday to resume their search for a missing Aspen man whose whereabouts were last recorded through a ski-pass scan Thursday at 12:04 p.m. at the Exhibition lift at Aspen Highlands.
Robert Jefferson Walker, a 55-year-old wine salesman who has lived in the area for several years, has not been seen or heard from by those who know him since before that time, his friends confirmed Sunday. He is more commonly known as Jeff Walker.
His girlfriend, Denver resident Liz Sathe, said Mountain Rescue Aspen, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Aspen Skiing Co. personnel spent most of the day Sunday searching Highland Bowl and surrounding areas in an effort to locate him.
“He’s missing,” Sathe said. “We haven’t come up with anything else. They looked all day.”
She said Walker apparently changed clothes and left them, along with a wallet and his phone, in a locker in Aspen near Gondola Plaza before heading to Aspen Highlands on Thursday.
“If anyone was hiking up the bowl on Thursday and ran into Jeff Walker, or skied with him anywhere on Thursday, that information would be helpful,” Sathe said.
Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said Walker was known to ski the bowl every day.
Nate Harnish, an Aspen resident and longtime friend, said it also would be helpful if people went to Aspen Highlands on Monday and assisted with the search.
“Tomorrow there should be somebody at the top to let people know where to search,” he said. “There’s a chance he could be alive. The more people we can get on the mountain, the better.”
Harnish said Walker is well-known throughout the Aspen area.
“Honestly, the sheriff’s department is probably presuming that he’s dead,” he said. “The search (on Sunday) lasted from 11 a.m. until about 4 o’clock. We need as much grassroots help as possible because if he’s alive, we’re really running out of time.”
The Sheriff’s Office emailed information on Sunday evening stating that it was notified of the missing-person case at 9:30 p.m. Saturday by the Aspen Police Department.
“Search personnel were not able to detect any signs of Walker during their search on Sunday,” a statement said.
Teams composed of personnel from Mountain Rescue Aspen and Skico will resume the search Monday. Anyone with information about Walker’s whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 970-920-5300.