Glacier Gorge and Mills Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Glacier Creek and Mills Lake in the foreground and "Keyboard of the Winds" including Storm Peak, Longs Peak, Pagoda Mountain and Chief's Head Peak making up the mountainous backdrop. Photo Credit: sherwoodimagery (iStock).

According to officials, a search started at the Rocky Mountain National Park on Friday morning for a man that last had contact with friends and family on August 28. This follows the discovery of the man's car at the park's Glacier Gorge Trailhead on Thursday after a friend reported him missing the same day.

The missing man has been identified as 24-year-old Steven "Steve" Grunwald of Greenville, New York. It is believed that he was attempting the Glacier Gorge Traverse on August 29, last seen in nearby Boulder, Colorado on the previous day. The traverse is a strenuous route that travels 11 summits over 19 rocky miles. It is considered dangerous terrain with class five climbing, meaning falls in some places would likely be fatal.

Steven Grunwald

Steven Grunwald. Courtesy photo.

Steven Grunwald is described as an experienced outdoorsman and a fit trail runner, backpacker, and rock climber. He's 5' 6" and 145 pounds with brown hair and black rectangle glasses. It is also believed that he may have been wearing a green Camp brand climbing helmet.

Currently, weather conditions, including strong winds and drifting snow, have searchers focused on the upper Glacier Gorge area from various vantage points, including McHenrys Peak, Arrowhead, and the Keyhole Route of Longs Peak. Rangers are also continuing to attempt to narrow down the greater search area.

According to Mountain Project, the Glacier Gorge Traverse is rated as 5.7 difficulty and described as very exposed, including summits of Longs Peak (14,259') and Pagoda Mountain (13,497'). One typically uses safety equipment while climbing at this grade, though on an extended route like this, it may be less likely – especially when traveling solo as is suspected in the case of Grunwald.

Authorities are asking those that were in the Glacier Gorge area or surrounding ridgelines on August 29 and 30 to contact them. They can be reached via phone at 888-653-0009, online form, or email at

This is a developing story.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee manages the OutThere Colorado digital publication as the Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to rock climb, trail run, and mountain bike. Follow along with his adventures on Instagram at @spence.outside


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