Hannah Taylor never sat still for long.
The 39-year-old Hopkinton native was drawn to the mountains, where she felt at home skiing, hiking and climbing. It had been that way since Taylor first skied in the backyard of her parents’ house, when she was 18 months old.
On Saturday, Taylor fell to her death while hiking in the Gore Mountain Range of Colorado, according to friends and family. Taylor had lived in Summit County in Colorado for almost 15 years.
“She lived a mountain lifestyle and loved the beauty we’re surrounded by,” said Mike Zobbe, executive director of the Summit Huts Association, one of organizations where Taylor worked. “She died doing something she loved to do.”
The Summit County Rescue Group reported that about 12:30 p.m. Saturday an adult female was hiking with another person on East Thorn on the Gore Range ridgeline when she took a substantial fall, causing her to suffer critical injuries. East Thorn Peak rises 13,333 feet above sea level.
“After climbing to the ridge, she was making a traverse across it when the rocks she was holding onto came loose from the mountain and she fell to her death,” fellow mountaineer Will Rawstron wrote on Facebook.
A Flight for Life helicopter found Taylor and dropped a medical team to assist; however, due to rough terrain, an Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter was called in to take her out of the ridge. She was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to the Summit County coroner’s office.
Taylor, a champion trail runner, mountaineer, and backcountry skier, grew up in Hopkinton, and attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Middlebury College.
After moving to Colorado, Taylor worked for the Summit Huts Association, and was an instructor for Summit Nordic Ski Club, a job she had performed for the last 14 years, according the club’s president, Peter Haynes.
“Hannah was a very driven person and expected a lot out of the kids because she loved them so much,” Haynes said. “Everybody looked up to her because she was so strong and determined.”
Haynes said he will remember Taylor for her dry sense of humor and for being one of the most gifted ski wax technicians in all of Colorado.
“In the Nordic world, that’s what makes our kids fast or slow, and she was in charge of all waxing – and took great pride in it. She had created a bible of waxes used over 10 years for all conditions,” Haynes said.
Taylor wrote on Summit Nordic Ski Club’s site that she first skied in the backyard of her parents’ house in northern New Hampshire when she was about 18 months old. She then ski raced for 11 years through middle school and college before taking on coaching.
“I coach because I love to ski and I believe in lifelong sports,” Taylor wrote.
Taylor also loved running and climbing. One year ago, she won the inaugural women’s title at the High Lonesome 100 Miler, an ultra-endurance race across the peaks, valleys and forest surrounding Salida, Colo. It was the first overall win of Taylor’s life, according to an article written in the Summit Daily newspaper.
“I’m not out just to race, just to get bibs on,” Taylor told the Daily. “That was never the idea. It was all about spending big days in the mountains.”
As of a year ago, the New Hampshire native had competed in three or four 50-kilometer races and three 100-milers.