Donations needed ahead of new search for missing police officer

LITTLETON, Colo. -- Nearly two months after Littleton police officer Steven Beare went missing while climbing Mount Elbrus in Russia, there is a renewed effort to recover his remains.

Beare set off alone in June to summit the 18,150-foot mountain in his quest to climb the seven world summits. Witnesses reported seeing Beare climbing up the mountain as a blizzard rolled in, blanketing the peak for several days.

“I really think he got stuck in a blizzard and fell in a crevasse,” his wife Olivia Beare said.

Search and rescue teams spent weeks trying to rescue Beare from the snow and ice. They had to call off the search at the end of June because of weather. Beare is presumed dead.

“I’ve got to at least try one more time,” Olivia Beare said.

She has spent the past eight weeks fundraising to pay for additional search efforts. Her work has developed into a nonprofit called Climbing for Beare.

“It’s mission will be to provide search and rescue funds for American climbers that go missing internationally,” she said. “I don’t want someone else to have to go through what I went through.”

The first recipient of those funds will be her husband.

Don Bowie, the American climber voluntarily leading the search efforts, is planning to back to Russia around Aug. 21.

Much of the accumulated snow will have melted by then, which might make a recovery easier.

Climbing for Beare has about $45,000. That is only enough to cover the expenses for two helicopters to search for nine hours on the mountain.

“We are hoping to have $100,000 in the account,” Olivia Beare said. “The more money we raise the longer we can look.”

Olivia Beare, who is 18 weeks pregnant and also cares for the couple’s young son, is desperate to bring her husband home.

“If we do not find him, it can take up to five years to get a death certificate,” she said. “None of his life insurance policies can go through. I can’t change our will. I can’t change any information on any of our bills. I can’t change over the title of his truck. I can’t do anything.”

She estimates she can only survive another two months on her income.

“If we don’t find him, I don’t know what is going to happen. So that’s why raising money [to find him] is so important,” Olivia Beare said.

The last big fundraiser before the search resumes in Russia will be a spaghetti dinner on Aug. 12 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Waterton Tavern (8361 N. Rampart Range Road).

The dinner will feature a silent auction with more than 4,000 donated items up for grabs, including massages, hotel stays and gift cards.

One of the more unique items up for bid will be a private guided mountaineering expedition with Bowie.

“He’s doing a one-day guided climb of any 14er that you choose, any trail that you choose,” Olivia Beare said. “If it’s someone adventurous and they want to get off the trail and rope up and climb something, we can do something cool.”

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children. All proceeds will be donated to Climbing for Beare. Anything left over after searching for Beare will go to help the next climber in need.