Mountaineer who searched for Steven Beare talks about challenges, what may have happened

Posted at 9:36 PM, Jul 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-07 13:54:21-04

DENVER – It’s been nearly a month since Littleton Police Officer Steven Beare went missing on a hike in far southern Russia, and while the search has been official suspended, his family is still fighting to bring him back home with the help of an American mountaineer.

Don Bowie, who served as Olivia Beare’s eyes and ears in Russia, spoke to Denver7 about the challenges of the search and what he thinks may have happened to Beare.

Bowie said a group of climbers were the last to spot Beare about an hour from the west summit of Mt. Elbrus when a stormed rolled in and didn't let up for two and half days, dumping four feet of snow on the mountain. 

Bowie told Denver7 reporter Jennifer Kovaleski Mt. Elbrus is a cone volcano, which makes searching efforts difficult due to the thousands of massive crevasses hidden throughout the mountain. 

"I imagine there's lots of people who could understand what a white out condition is - you cannot see shadow you cannot see differences in the terrain," he explained. 

Due of those conditions, Bowie believes Beare lost the trail at some point and never made it down.

"The thing about search and rescue is when you're looking for somebody again you deal in probabilities and hope for the exceptions," Bowie said. Higher on the mountain, truth is… that especially above the saddle and the higher elevation of the mountain, it would be extremely difficult to survive one or two days,” Bowie said.

But his search is not over.

He said he plans to go back to the mountain in August after the snow melts to make sure Beare comes back home.

Beare, who was also a member of the National Guard, set out to summit Mount Elbrus -- Europe's tallest mountain -- earlier this month, but was reported missing June 16 in the midst of a severe snow storm in the area.

Beare had set out to climb the seven highest peaks in the world, and had already climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

His wife is still raising money for the continued search efforts.

Those interested in donating to the efforts can make donations here, or send a check to the Colorado Police Officers Foundation at 2701 W. 84th Ave. #211 in Westminster, CO 80031. In both instances, write Steven Beare's name in the notes section of the donation.

Tomorrow, Denver7 will air a second part to this story at 10 p.m., where Kovaleski will show us how deceiving Mt. Elbrus really is, and before you head to the mountains you'll want to hear Bowie's advice that could save your life.