Weather clears to launch helicopters in search for missing Littleton climber in Russia

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- The search for Littleton police officer Steven Beare continues at Mount Elbrus in Russia.

Beare set out June 14 to solo climb the 18,510-foot peak. According to reports from other climbers, Beare was spotted heading up toward the summit as a snowstorm approached, forcing other groups to return to camp.

He has not been seen or heard from since.

“I just wish I could see in a crystal ball just a snapshot of him, what he looks like right now,” wife Olivia Beare said.

On Friday, a week after Beare was first reported missing, American mountaineer Don Bowie arrived in Russia to lead a private search and rescue mission.

He has posted pictures and videos to Facebook documenting the efforts.

“You can really see how grandiose it is and all the different terrain they’re dealing with,” Olivia Beare said.

For the first time, hired helicopters were able to launch and search for signs of Beare from overhead. There are also several coordinated groups of hired rescuers and volunteers combing the mountain on foot.

“Don is looking in more of the dangerous areas that people can’t get to on foot,” Olivia Beare said.

The hope is Beare is hunkered down in the snow waiting for help. His wife describes him as an experienced climber with excellent survival skills from his time in the Army.

“I personally am losing hope just because it’s been so long,” she said. “But I know that Don is going to stay and find my husband even if he hasn’t made it and that is really important to me.”

The couple has a 20-month-old son and Olivia is 12 weeks pregnant.

“I don’t want to give up hope ever,” she said. “I just have to think about the future and what my life will be like with two babies and no dad.”

Her family is not alone. Their home has had a constant flow of visitors, including friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and strangers offering meals, company and support.

“While we were gone, we came home and someone had cleaned my house. I don’t know how they got in or what, but someone was here and cleaned our house,” Olivia Beare said.

A Facebook page dedicated to the search for Beare has reached more than 4,000 members as of Sunday night. Updates are posted as news comes in from Russia.

According to Olivia Beare, the community has also raised more than $50,000 to help cover the mounting costs of a private search. The helicopter costs $2,500 per hour to rent.

The Beare family is accepting donations to assist with the rescue.