Russian teams to call off search for Littleton officer missing on Mount Elbrus
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Russian teams who have been looking for a Littleton police officer who disappeared during a snowstorm on Mount Elbrus plan to call off the search after the end of the day on Wednesday.
Steven 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, but family members have been holding onto the hope that he is hunkered down in the snow waiting for help.
His wife described him as an experienced climber with excellent survival skills from his time in the Army.
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.
Specialized mountain search and rescue teams and Russian military helicopters have also been searching for Beare.
“The Russian teams will be calling off their search after the day is done tomorrow,” his wife, Olivia Beare, wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.
“There is just too much snow and harsh weather conditions to continue. The mountain is so large and there are 1000s of crevasse he could have fallen into that are covered spanning 100s of square miles.”
Family members also hired helicopters to search for signs of Beare, but severe weather could prevent them from launching Wednesday.
“We do not know yet if the helicopters would be able to fly tomorrow or not.” Olivia Beare said Tuesday.
The area is nine hours ahead of Denver. It’s not clear how much longer Bowie will be able to continue the private search.
“Don is going to be taking his search day by day and has not given me a day that he will leave yet,” Olivia Beare said. “He is not sure how many people he will have at his disposal for searching going forward because many of them have assignments already.”
“Life itself as I know it is looking extremely bleak,” Olivia Beare wrote on Tuesday.
The couple has a 20-month-old son and Olivia Beare 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.”
Olivia Beare said friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and strangers have been offering meals, company and support.
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.