Search continues for Littleton police officer missing on Russian mountain


Steven Beare (Photo courtesy Olivia and Steven Beare)

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — The search continues for a Littleton police officer who went missing while mountain climbing in Russia last week.

Steven Beare hasn’t been heard from since Friday. He was attempting a solo climb of Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe.

“His goal is to complete the seven world summits,” his wife Olivia Beare said.

The high school sweethearts have been together 14 years. They have a toddler and another baby on the way in January.

“That’s not the only reason I need my husband home, but it’s definitely a big reason,” she said. “I can’t raise two babies by myself. He is everything in the world to me.”

Beare is an Army veteran, a member of the Colorado National Guard and has been an officer with the Littleton Police Department for 1 1/2 years.

“We are keeping officer Beare and his family in our thoughts and prayers. Steven is a highly respected officer for the LPD and all of us are hopeful he will be located quickly,” police said in a statement.

“When circumstances appear hopeless, you fight through and win, no matter what,” Chief Doug Stephens said. “That’s what cops do and I am confident that Steven is doing that now.”

Beare developed a passion for mountain climbing five years ago and has summited difficult peaks such as Mount Kilimanjaro.

“He was ready for this climb,” Olivia Beare said. “He felt confident in his skills and his equipment that he has.”

She said the two have a rule that Steven Beare always calls home when he is finished climbing a mountain. He was due back down Friday but never called.

A massive snowstorm blanketed the mountain while Beare was climbing. A nearby group has reported seeing him go up but lost sight of him when they were forced to turn back because of low visibility in the snow.

“He does have other equipment for getting water and through all of his military training, he’s got a ton of mountaineering experience and survival skills,” Olivia Beare said.

“He knows how to hunker down in snow and make a hut. But if he’s injured, I don’t know if that’s happening.”

She said she is hopeful, but worried.

“The biggest obstacle right now that my husband faces is the cold and the 4 feet of snow that was dumped in this blizzard,” she said. “I’m just worried he’s going to freeze to death.”

Now it’s a race against the clock. Olivia Beare has been coordinating overseas rescue efforts from her living room in Highlands Ranch.

There happens to be another climber from Littleton at Mount Elbrus who has been able to facilitate communication between Beare’s family and Russian rescue teams.

Search and rescue had to call off the search on Sunday because of poor weather.

“They’re conservative in their search and rescues to protect their own men,” Olivia Beare said.

Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman sent a letter to the Russian ambassador to the U.S. on Wednesday asking for additional help.

In the meantime, Olivia Beare has also hired private rescuers to continue the search. However, progress is slow.

The man she hired to search by foot hasn’t been approved for a visa to enter Russia. And the helicopter teams she hired haven’t been able to deploy because of whiteout conditions on top of the mountain.

“They are hoping to go out at sunrise (Thursday). The storm is not fully cleared but it’s getting clearer,” she said.

The only thing Olivia Beare has left to do is hope.

“I hope he knows that I’m doing everything I can do find him,” she said. “I hope that he’s really pushing himself to be stubborn and strong and stay alive.”

The private rescue helicopters cost $2,500 per hour. They have already paid for five hours of searching, but might need more.

The family is asking for donations to help cover costs.

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