ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (KDVR) — Rocky Mountain National Park spokesperson Kyle Patterson said rangers began the search effort Friday morning after 24-year-old Steven “Steve” Grunwald’s vehicle was found parked at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead on Thursday. Grunwald’s friend also reported him missing on Thursday.
Grunwald, of Greenville, New York, was last seen in Boulder on August 28, which is also when he last had contact with family and friends.
“He’s had phone troubles before, but he always contacts us within about a week or so. The amount of time that he hasn’t contacted anybody is abnormal. To me, it doesn’t bode well,” said Grunwald’s brother, Sean Garrison.
Patterson said that while Grunwald’s specific route or destination is unknown, he may have been trying to climb the Glacier Gorge Traverse on August 29.
“The Glacier Gorge Traverse is an expansive route including 11 peak summits over roughly 19 miles. It entails sections of fifth class climbing and difficult terrain,” Patterson said in a statement.
Grunwald is 5 feet, 6 inches tall, and weighs about 145 pounds. He has brown, medium-length, curly hair. He wears black, rectangular glasses.
Garrison says his brother is a very experienced hiker and climber as well as a fit trail runner—and is still holding out hope he’s alive. “He’s lived in the wilderness for months before. He could definitely survive. I just hope he’s not hurt, because we don’t know if he was climbing or what he was doing,” Garrison said.
Grunwald may have been wearing a brown beanie, yellow pants, a blue top layer, and blue or red shoes. He may be wearing a green climbing helmet.
“Due to winter weather conditions, including winds and drifting snow, park efforts today are focused in the upper Glacier Gorge area by glassing areas of McHenrys Peak and Arrowhead as well as areas in upper Glacier Gorge from the Keyhole Route of Longs Peak. Park rangers are also continuing investigations to attempt to narrow down the overall search area,” Patterson said.
Anyone who has seen Grunwald or has information about where he might be should contact the National Park Service. People who were in the upper Glacier Gorge area and/or ridge lines of surrounding peaks on August 29 or August 30 are also asked to contact the NPS.
Tips can be left anonymously.
“Anybody that was around the Glacier Gorge Junction on August 30—if they have any information, please contact the park rangers on the tip line. Just help us find my brother,” said an emotional Garrison.
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