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Body recovered from Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

keyhole route on longs peak.jpg
RMNP Search and Rescue Team Members Recovery Efforts Longs Peak September 17, 2022 Courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park September 17 2022.jpg
Posted at 6:34 AM, Sep 19, 2022

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. — The keyhole route to the summit of Longs Peak was closed on Saturday evening and Sunday as authorities recovered the body of a man who had died on the mountain.

The keyhole route up Longs Peak — the standard route — was closed between the keyhole and the summit during the operation, which began in the late afternoon Saturday and lasted through Sunday, according to a spokesperson with RMNP. A man had died above a part of the route called "the ledges," named after a series of narrow spots after the keyhole.

keyhole route on longs peak.jpg
The keyhole route up Longs Peak

The man was identified on Tuesday as Russell Jacobs, 25, of Westminster.

He had contacted a friend in the late afternoon Friday with a cell phone, saying he was lost and the weather was deteriorating. He was not prepared for winter conditions or to spend the night around 13,000 feet, the spokesperson said.

When park rangers learned about the lost man, they briefly contacted him via text message and he said he would try to move toward the Agnes Vaille Shelter, which is just below the keyhole. The rescue team then lost contact with him.

Search and rescue searched for Jacobs in the boulder field before the keyhole Friday afternoon, but nightfall accumulating snow, 35 mph winds, freezing temperatures and bitter wind chill halted their efforts. Rangers reached the shelter, but could not find Jacobs, the spokesperson said.

The teams set up shelter in the boulder field overnight in case Jacobs tried to find his way to the trailhead. Snow and sleet fell through the evening.

Before sunrise Saturday, rangers reported more winter-like conditions on the mountains, the spokesperson said.

A brief break in the weather allowed crews in a Northern Colorado Med Evac air ambulance to fly over the search area.

Visitors found the man's body was found about 80 feet above the ledges, a spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the recovery operation was completed around 5 p.m. Sunday and the keyhole route reopened.