National Park Rangers Texted With the Man Who Died on Longs Peak in Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park’s search and rescue team said they were able to talk to the man for a short time before he died on Longs Peak over the weekend. The man had gotten lost in the snow and could not find his way back.

In a news release sent out Tuesday morning, the park said that the man who died was Russell Jacobs, who was 25 years old and from Westminster. On Sunday, his body was found.

Details About How Jacobs Got Lost in Winter Emerge

The news release says that late Friday afternoon, Jacobs called a friend on his cellphone and told him he was lost and the weather was getting worse quickly. He told his friend that he wasn’t ready for winter or to spend an unplanned night at an altitude of more than 13,000 feet.

The friend told the park rangers and for a short time, they were able to send Jacobs a text message to find out where he was. They found out that Jacobs, who was hiking the Keyhole Route, would try to get to the Agnes Vaille Shelter. But then communication was lost.

Snow and Wind Slow Down Searches

The search and rescue team at Rocky Mountain National Park started looking for Jacobs on Friday afternoon in the area from the Boulder Field to the Keyhole. The Boulder Field is right below the Keyhole, which is where the 1.5-mile technical section of the 7.5-mile hike/climb to the top of Longs Peak, which is 14,259 feet high, begins.

The Agnes Vaille Shelter is between the Keyhole and the Boulder Field. It was built to give hikers and climbers a place to stay out of the harsh weather during difficult climb.

On Friday, the search was made harder by snow and ice that kept falling and temperatures below freezing and made even colder by 35 mph winds. Even with the weather, the rangers made it to the Agnes Vaille Shelter, but they couldn’t find Jacobs.

In case Jacobs was still trying to get to the trailhead, the search team set up a shelter in the Boulder Field for the night. Searchers in the field said it snowed and sleeted all night in the area where they were looking.

Visitors to the Park Find a Body in the Ledges Area

On Saturday morning before sunrise, the weather was more like winter. But when the weather cleared up, a Northern Colorado Med Evac air ambulance from Greeley was able to fly over the area where people were looking.

Visitors to the park eventually found Jacob’s body about 80 feet above the Ledges section, just past the Keyhole and the beginning of the tricky part of the Keyhole Route to the summit.

The park hired Trans Aero helicopter on Sunday to help position park rangers and aerial recovery operations for the body. The body was found around 5 p.m. and taken to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office by helicopter.

Most Climbing Fatalities in Colorado Occur on Longs Peak

One of the state’s most famous peaks above 14,000 feet is also the most dangerous. Since the park opened in 1915, records show that more than 70 people have died while climbing Longs Peak.

According to the Coloradoan, this is the sixth person known to have died in Rocky Mountain National Park this year.

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