ESTES PARK, Colo. (KDVR) — Officials with Rocky Mountain National Park identified the hiker that died near the Keyhole Route of the Longs Peak ascent as Russell Jacobs, 25, of Westminster.
Jacobs’ body was recovered Sunday night by helicopter and transferred to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. Park visitors found Jacobs about 80 feet above the Ledges area of the park after a long weekend search hampered often by weather, officials said.
Jacobs had contacted a friend late Friday afternoon, Sept. 16, by cell phone saying that he was lost and worried about the weather.
“Jacobs was unprepared for winter conditions or to spend an unplanned night at elevations above 13,000 feet,” park officials said.
The friend told park rangers of the situation.
“Park rangers were briefly able to contact Jacobs via text message to ascertain his location and learned he was going to try to move toward the Agnes Vaille Shelter. Communication with him was then lost,” officials said in a statement.
Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue Team set out on a search Friday looking for him in the Boulder Field and Keyhole area, but the search was stalled by accumulating snow, ice, 35 mph winds and below freezing temperatures. The search team had set up shelter overnight in case he was still out trying to reach the trailhead.
Search efforts began again before sunrise Saturday, but rangers reported continued winter conditions. A weather clearing allowed for the Northern Colorado Med Evac air ambulance to fly over the area. Later, park visitors found him 80 feet above the Ledges. On Sunday, aerial recovery operations took place with the search and rescue team working with Trans Aero helicopter.
The Boulder County Coroner’s office will be releasing his cause of death.