Most Viewed Stories
Incline hiker who died was 2-time Ascent runner
Vanessa McMichael, 58, died late Tuesday afternoon after collapsing on the popular trail.
McMichael had been the physical education teacher at Midland International Elementary School since 2003, said Devra Ashby, spokeswoman for Colorado Springs School District 11.
McMichael had run the Pikes Peak Ascent in 1997 and again in 1998.
She was hiking the Incline just before 5 p.m. when she collapsed. Another hiker saw her, called 911, and immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Crews from El Paso County Search and Rescue and Manitou Springs police and fire departments joined the life-saving efforts. Rescuers were unable to revive McMichael and they pronounced her dead at the scene.
At Midland, McMichael was known to students as "Coach," school Principal Jeremy Cramer said Wednesday.
"She was well-loved by the children," Cramer said.
McMichael coached track and basketball, and ran several after-school programs. She was also known for her generosity - it was not unlike her to help a student pay for lunch, or buy a student a pair of shoes, Cramer said.
"She was all about the kids, every day," he said.
Wednesday was a difficult day at the school, as students learned they had lost a favorite teacher and the school a dedicated staff member, Cramer said.
"Some of (the students) have known her for their entire school life," he said.
McMichael was extremely fit, and an example for her students. Just last week she ran yet another successful field day, Cramer said.