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Minnesota teen falls more than 100 feet to his death rock climbing in Colorado

At his family's request, the Boulder County Coroner's Office released this selfie taken by Carter Christensen of Maple Grove, Minn., on Boulder's First Flatiron about an hour before he fell to his death on Sunday, Aug. 6. (Courtesy photo)

BOULDER, Colo. -- A 17-year-old from Minnesota died Sunday in a fall of more than 100 feet from a rock formation while climbing alone near Boulder, Colo.

The Boulder County coroner’s office on Wednesday identified the teen as Carter Christensen of Maple Grove, Minn.

According to a statement from his family, Christensen recently had graduated from high school and was visiting friends in Longmont, Colo., before enlisting in the Navy with hopes of becoming a Navy SEAL, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.

“Carter was a lover of the outdoors and an adventurous spirit and was experiencing joy in summiting the First Flatiron in Chautauqua Park,” the family said in its statement. “Carter came to Colorado to be outdoors in a place that he loves. He wanted to spend some time with friends in Longmont while he trained for his Navy SEAL enrollment.

The Boulder County sheriff’s office said Christensen was free-soloing — climbing alone, without the use of ropes or gear — on Sunday evening when he fell and suffered “massive traumatic injuries.” Nobody witnessed the fall, but several people in the area heard it and responded to help. He was declared dead at the scene.

Christensen posted a picture on Instagram from near the top of the rock formation. Boulder sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Wagner told the newspaper  the photo was taken about an hour before the fall, so investigators don’t believe it had anything to do with this death.