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Search team finds body believed to be that of a missing man in Rocky Mountain National Park

Search team finds body believed to be that of a missing man in Rocky Mountain National Park
Posted at 1:24 PM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 15:24:14-04

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. — On Monday, a search and rescue team in Rocky Mountain National Park found a body believed to be that of missing hiker Steven Grunwald.

Park authorities said they believe the body is Grunwald, 24, of Greenville, New York, who went missing in the park in late August.

A search team found the body in a location called the Notch below McHenrys Peak and Powell Peak in the park, authorities said.

Park rangers completed an investigation at the site Monday. The body was recovered by helicopter afterward and transported to the Larimer County Coroner’s Office.

The coroner's office will positively identify the body. The cause of death is under investigation.

A friend of Grunwald reported him missing on Thursday. Friends and family said they hadn't heard from him since Aug. 28, when he was seen in Boulder.

On Thursday, park rangers found his car parked at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. Park authorities said it appears that he may have been attempting the Glacier Gorge Traverse — an expansive route including 11 peaks over 19 miles, and sections of class 5 climbing — on Aug. 29.

The search efforts for Grunwald were hampered by conditions on Friday with winter-like conditions above 10,000 feet with up to 8-10 inches of drifting snow and 50 mph wind gusts, park authorities said.

Early Sunday morning, members of the Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team were shuttled by Northern Colorado Interagency Helitak to the saddle between Taylor Peak and Powell Peaks — both taller than 13,000 feet. The crews searched the exposed area along the Continental Divide, which included spans of loose rocks and scree fields. The search also included areas of Thatchtop, McHenrys Peak, and Powell Peak.

A park ranger and members of Front Range Rescue Dogs were also flown to the Thatchtop area. The dog team helped greatly in finding the body, park authorities said.