Snow and cold hamper search efforts for New York man missing in Rocky Mountain National Park

Snow and cold hamper search efforts for New York man missing in Rocky Mountain National Park
Snow and cold hamper search efforts for New York man missing in Rocky Mountain National Park
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:
Steven Grunwald / courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park

Search efforts Friday for a missing New York man in Rocky Mountain National Park were hampered by snow, wind and cold temperatures, and rescuers hoped for better conditions as the search continued Saturday.

Steve Grunwald, 24, was reported missing by a friend Thursday. According to a Rocky Mountain National Park news release, at above 10,000 feet rescuers experienced winter-like conditions of 8 to 10 inches of drifting snow, 30-degree temperatures, and winds of 50 miles per hour producing windchill of 11 degrees. This made visibility and probability of detection low to nonexistent, the release said.

Rescuers on Saturday were optimistic that conditions would be more favorable for aerial search operations. The release said that additional resources were planned for continuing aerial operations and putting skilled technical staff into the areas as the forecast stays favorable and aircraft are available. Officials planned to focus on locations along the Glacier Gorge Traverse and other high probability areas defined by investigative efforts, the release said.

Grunwald’s vehicle was found parked at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead on Thursday. Grunwald was seen in Boulder on Aug. 28, when he last had contact with family and friends.

Grunwald is believed to have been attempting the Glacier Gorge Traverse on Aug. 29, which includes roughly 19 miles, 11 peak summits and sections of fifth-class climbing and difficult terrain. His destination or route is, however, unknown.

Investigative leads have been positive from the established tip line and have continued to assist in defining the search area.

The weather forecast calls for favorable conditions for aerial search operations this afternoon. Additional resources are planned for continuing aerial operations and putting skilled technical staff into the areas as the forecast stays favorable and aircraft are available. Areas of focus will be locations along the Glacier Gorge Traverse and other high-probability areas defined by investigative efforts.

Grunwald wears black rectangular glasses. He is described as 5 feet, 6 inches tall,145 pounds, with brown, medium-length curly hair. He is also described as a fit trail runner, backpacker and climber with backcountry experience, according to prior reports. He may be wearing a brown beanie, yellow pants, a blue top layer and blue or red shoes. He may also be wearing a green climbing helmet.

Anyone with information or who was in the area Aug. 29 to 30 is asked to call or text the National Park Service Investigative Services Bureau tip line at 888-653-0009, submit information online at nps.gov/ISB or email nps_isb@nps.gov.