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Crews searching for missing man in Rocky Mountain National Park

Steven Grunwald missing
Posted at 4:10 PM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-12 01:00:52-04

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK — Crews are searching for a missing man in Rocky Mountain National Park, officials said Friday.

Steven "Steve" Grunwald, 24, was last heard from on Aug. 28, a day before he was believed to be attempting the Glacier Gorge Traverse at the park, according to a news release.

The Glacier Gorge Traverse is a roughly 19-mile route over 11 peak summits and it includes a section of fifth-class climbing and other difficult terrain. A friend of Grunwald reported him missing on Thursday, and park rangers found his vehicle parked at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead.

Sean Garrison, Grunwald's brother, says his family is struggling to keep it together and feel helpless. He describes his brother as adventurous with a love for the outdoors. He adds that Grunwald has plenty of experience in the backcountry and survival training.

"My brother is kind of a free spirit, he spends a lot of his time hiking and venturing the woods; he does a lot of rock climbing," Garrison said. "He’s an ultra-marathon runner. He’s a mountain climber, he’s smart."

Garrison says while his brother is fit, he worries Grunwald is hurt and fears he could starve. He believes his brother may have been hiking with someone named Chase, but they don't have his last name or contact information.

Officials described Grunwald as 5-foot-6, 145 pounds with brown, medium-length curly. He wears black rectangular glasses.

Crews on Friday were focusing on the upper Glacier Gorge Area near McHenrys Peak and Arrowhead.

Kyle Patterson, a spokesperson with the Rocky Mountain National Park, says their concern is that more than ten days have passed since he went missing and they aren't sure if Grunwald was prepared for the winter blast that brought in eight to ten inches of snow to the area.

"Right now all we have is a car in a parking lot and the possibility that he is anywhere in a 19-mile, very rugged section,“ Patterson said.

She says the high winds and snow are making the search difficult. Patterson says once the winds die down they plan to do an aerial search.

The park saw wintry weather this week, including heavy snow and freezing temperatures. Anyone who has information that could help search crews is asked to call the National Park Service Investigative Services Bureau tip line at 888-653-0009, or email

Denver7's Adi Guajardo contributed to this report.