Extreme Conditions Face Rescuers Looking for Solo Hiker Missing in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO Since August

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Rocky Mountain national park,
Steve Grunwald, 24

On September 11, Rocky Mountain National Park rangers began search efforts for Steven “Steve” Grunwald, 24, of Greenville, New York. On September 10, a friend of Grunwald reported him missing. Park rangers found his vehicle parked at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead on September 10. His last contact with family and friends was August 28.

His exact route or destination is unknown, but it is believed he may have been attempting the Glacier Gorge Traverse on August 29. He was last seen in Boulder on August 28. The Glacier Gorge Traverse is an expansive route including 11 peak summits over roughly 19 miles. It entails sections of fifth class climbing and difficult terrain.

Early yesterday morning, Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members were shuttled by Northern Colorado Interagency Helitak to the saddle between Taylor and Powell Peaks in the continued search for Steve Grunwald.

rmnp, colorado
Taylor and Powell peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Searchers covered terrain along the Continental Divide in exposed areas with loose rocks and scree fields, where accessible; including areas of Thatchtop, McHenrys Peak, and Powell Peak. Steep alpine terrain in areas with a north-facing aspect was extremely hazardous due to snow and heavy ice build-up. This hindered searchers from covering these areas.  Weather is forecast to be favorable for access into those areas mid-week.

Another search team hiked from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead to the South Couloir route up Thatchtop. 

Aerial search efforts took place as well.

Searchers camped overnight in the Lake Powell area to begin search efforts again early this morning.

Grunwald is described as 5’6,” 145 pounds, brown hair medium length and curly. He wears black rectangular glasses. He is described as a fit trail runner, backpacker, and climber with backcountry experience. Clothing may include a brown beanie, yellow pants, a blue top layer, and blue or red shoes. He may be wearing a green Camp climbing helmet.

If you have information that could help investigators, if you may have seen Steven Grunwald, or if you were in the upper Glacier Gorge area and/or ridgelines on surrounding peaks on August 29 or August 30, please contact them. You don’t have to tell us who you are, but please tell us what you know. CALL or TEXT the National Park Service Investigative Services Bureau Tip Line 888-653-0009, ONLINE form www.nps.gov/ISB or EMAIL nps_isb@nps.gov

Steven ‘Steve’ Grunwald, 24

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