College Student Dies After Suffering Altitude Sickness While Hiking Colorado Mountains
A 20-year-old woman has died while hiking in Colorado after suffering from acute altitude sickness, her devastated family said.
Susanna DeForest, of Pennsylvania, was hiking with friends on the Conundrum Creek Trail when she fell ill on Thursday, authorities said.
About halfway to the hot springs they planned to travel to, the group set up camp, but DeForest’s condition worsened.
While one person stayed with DeForest, her other friends rushed to get help. By the time emergency responders arrived early Friday, DeForest had died, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
DeForest’s mother, Kate DeForest, wrote on social media that her daughter had died from acute altitude sickness.
The 8.5-mile Conundrum Trail has a beginning elevation of 8,700 feet and rises to 11,200 feet. It is considered a difficult hike.
“Her friends who were with her did all they could to get help to her in time,” Kate DeForest wrote.
After receiving news of her death, DeForest’s parents traveled to the area to be with their beloved daughter.
“We have made a trip to Colorado to see her one last time and visit a place she loved here,” her mother wrote.
DeForest’s boyfriend also made the trip.
“I was lucky enough to get to see her one last time as she laid sleeping forever,” he posted on Facebook. “She was still just so beautiful... I want everyone to know she died the happiest she had ever been doing exactly what she loved.”
The Pitkin County Coroner’s Office is investigating an official cause of death.
DeForest was studying graphic design at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, where she earned dean’s list recognition this past semester, a spokeswoman told the Inquirer.
She was remembered for her positive and loving energy by many who expressed their condolences on social media.
“She was such a positive, happy and genuine soul and I always looked forward to seeing her when we worked together,” one friend wrote.
“Susie had a soul [that] illuminated any room she walked into,” another person posted. “She may be gone physically but sure as hell here in spirit.”