The body of a 25-year-old Westminster man, who died on Longs Peak in winter-like conditions on Friday, has been recovered and taken off of the mountain.
On Friday, Russell Jacobs contacted a friend by cell phone to report that he was lost on the mountain and that weather was rapidly deteriorating, according to a Rocky Mountain National Park news release.
“Jacobs was unprepared for winter conditions or to spend an unplanned night at elevations above 13,000 feet,” the release said.
Information on the cell phone call was relayed to park rangers, who were able to briefly contact Jacobs by text message and learn that “he was going to try to move toward the Agnes Vaille Shelter” before text communication was lost.
Members of the RMNP Search and Rescue Team began searching in the Boulder Field and Keyhole areas on Friday afternoon, park officials said.
Search efforts were hampered by winter-like weather — accumulating snow, ice, winds gusting above 35 mph, below-freezing temperatures, and bitter wind chill. Emergency responders reached the Agnes Vaille Shelter but didn’t find Jacobs.
The team set up shelter in the Boulder Field overnight in case Jacobs was still trying to reach the trailhead. Snow and sleet continued in the area overnight and search efforts resumed prior to sunrise on Saturday.
A clearing in the weather allowed for a Northern Colorado Med Evac air ambulance to fly over the search area as ground responders searched the Boulder Field. Jacobs’ body was found about 80 feet above the Ledges, along The Keyhole Route, by park visitors.
A recovery operation took place on Sunday and a helicopter assisted park rangers in the effort. The body was recovered at about 5 p.m. and transferred by helicopter to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. The coroner’s office will release Jacobs’ cause and manner of death.
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