National park rangers texted the man who died on Colorado’s Longs Peak

Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue said they were able to speak with the man briefly before he died on Longs Peak over the weekend. The man was lost in the snow and could not find his way back.

In a news release sent out Tuesday morning, the park said the man who died was Russell Jacobs, 25, of Westminster. His body was found on Sunday.

Details are emerging about how Jacobs got lost over the winter

The release said that late Friday afternoon, Jacobs called a friend on his cell phone and told them he was lost and the weather was rapidly deteriorating. He told his friend he wasn’t ready for winter or spending an unplanned night at an altitude above 13,000 feet.

The friend told park rangers and within a short time they were able to send a text message to Jacobs to find out where he was. They realized that Jacobs, who was hiking the Keyhole Route, was going to try to get to the Agnes Vaille Shelter. But then communication was lost.

Snow and wind are slowing searches

Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue began searching for Jacobs Friday afternoon in the area from Boulder Field to Keyhole. Boulder Field is just below Keyhole, where the technical 1.5-mile portion of the 7.5-mile hike/climb to the summit of Longs Peak, which is 14,259 feet high, begins.

The Agnes Vaille Shelter is between Keyhole and Boulder Field. It was built to provide hikers and climbers with a place to stay away from the harsh weather during the arduous climb.

On Friday, the search was hampered by snow and ice that continued to fall and temperatures that were below freezing, made even colder by 35 mph winds. Despite the bad weather, the rangers made it to the Agnes Weil shelter, but could not find Jacobs.

In case Jacobs was still trying to reach the trailhead, the search team set up a shelter at Boulder Field for the night. Searchers on the ground said it had been snowing and sleet overnight in the area where they were searching.

Park visitors find a body in the Ledges area.

On Saturday morning, before sunrise, the weather was rather wintry. But when the weather cleared, a Northern Colorado Med Evac air ambulance from Greeley was able to fly over the area where people were searching.

Park visitors eventually found Jacob’s body about 80 feet above the Ledges section, just after the Keyhole and the start of the difficult section of the Keyhole Route to the summit.

The park hired a Trans Aero helicopter on Sunday to help rangers position the park and aerial body recovery operations. The body was found around 5 p.m. and taken by helicopter to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office.

Most climbing fatalities in Colorado occur on Longs Peak.

One of the most famous peaks above 14,000 feet in the country it is also the most dangerous. Since the park opened in 1915, records show more than 70 people have died climbing Longs Peak.

This is the sixth person known to have died in Rocky Mountain National Park this year, according to the Coloradoan.

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