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Hiker found dead day after telling friend he was lost in Colorado national park

The Charlotte Observer 9/20/2022 Maddie Capron, The Charlotte Observer

A hiker used his cell phone to tell his friend he was lost as bad weather moved into Rocky Mountain National Park. Park visitors found his body the next day.

Russell Jacobs, a 25-year-old from Westminster, Colorado, contacted his friend and said he was lost on Friday, Sept. 16, park rangers said.

“Jacobs was unprepared for winter conditions or to spend an unplanned night at elevations above 13,000 feet,” officials said in a Sept. 20 news release. “This information was relayed to park rangers.”

Officials texted Jacobs to get his location, and he told them he was going to attempt going back toward shelter. Then they lost communication.

The park’s search and rescue team started scouring the Boulder Field and Keyhole areas during the afternoon of Sept. 16.

“Search efforts were hampered by accumulating snow, ice, 35 plus mile per hour winds, below freezing temperatures, night fall and bitter wind chill,” officials said. “Rangers were able to reach the Agnes Vaille Shelter and could not locate the subject.”

Rescuers set up shelter overnight in case Jacobs was still trying to reach the trailhead. However, snow and sleet continued through the night.

Park rangers continued their search efforts in the morning on Saturday, Sept. 17, as winter weather conditions continued.

An air ambulance was able to fly over the area to search for Jacobs, but the crew did not find him.

Park visitors later found his body about 80 feet above The Ledges.

On Sunday, Sept. 18, park officials recovered Jacobs’ body and took it to the county coroner.

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