On Sunday, September 18, recovery operations took place for Russell Jacobs, 25, from Westminster, Colorado near the Keyhole Route on Longs Peak. Rocky Mountain National Park's Search and Rescue Team contracted with Trans Aero helicopter to assist with prepositioning park rangers and aerial recovery operations. Jacobs’ body was recovered at approximately 5 p.m. Sunday night by helicopter and transferred to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office.
Late Friday afternoon, September 16, Jacobs contacted a friend via cellular phone that he was lost and that the weather was deteriorating rapidly. Jacobs was unprepared for winter conditions or to spend an unplanned night at elevations above 13,000 feet. This information was relayed to park rangers. 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.
Members from Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue Team began searching in the Boulder Field and Keyhole area of Longs Peak on Friday afternoon. Search efforts were hampered by accumulating snow, ice, 35 plus mile per hour winds, below freezing temperatures, night fall and bitter wind chill. Rangers were able to reach the Agnes Vaille Shelter and could not locate the subject. The search team set up shelter in the Boulder Field overnight in case the subject was still attempting to reach the trailhead. Searchers in the field reported snow and sleet continuing through the night in the search area.
Search efforts were started prior to sunrise on Saturday morning. Rangers reported continued winter like conditions in the area. A clearing in the weather allowed for Northern Colorado Med Evac air ambulance to fly over the search area to look for anyone in distress while rangers continued to search in the Boulder Field. The man’s body was located approximately 80 feet above The Ledges by park visitors.
The Boulder County Coroner’s office will release the cause of death.