On September 14, a search team located what they believe to be the body of Steven Grunwald, a 24-year-old that had been missing in Rocky Mountain National Park since August. It is believed that Grunwald was attempting the Glacier Gorge Traverse, a technical and dangerous route that means traveling 11 summits over 19 rocky and exposed miles.

The body was found in the "Notch" below McHenrys and Powell Peaks. Discovery of the body was greatly aided by a group of dogs from Front Range Rescue Dogs.

After the body was found, it was recovered via helicopter and delivered to the Wild Basin area, where it was then transferred to the coroner. Official identification will come from the coroner.

Grunwald was last seen on August 28, believed to be attempting the Glacier Gorge Traverse on August 29. A friend reported him missing on September 10 and his vehicle was found at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead the same day.

The search had been previously complicated by wintery weather, including snow drifts, strong winds, and frigid temperatures.

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 Grunwald was likely doing when an accident occurred.

Steven Grunwald was described as an experienced outdoorsman and a fit trail runner, backpacker, and rock climber.

Condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased. Thanks goes out to the search and rescue team involved in finding and recovering the body.


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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(1) comment


My condolences to friends and family of Steven Grunwald. He was attempting a very challenging feat.

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