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Body found in RMNP was missing New York man

Steve Grunwald, 24, was last heard from on Aug. 28.
Credit: Rocky Mountain National Park

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — Seach team members on Monday located the body of a New York man who hadn't been heard from since late August.

Steven Grunwald, 24, of Greenville, New York, was reported missing by a friend on Sept. 10. His last contact with family and friends was Aug. 28. His exact route was unknown, but it was believed he may have been attempting the Glacier Gorge Traverse on Aug. 29.

After he was reported missing, park rangers found Grunwald's vehicle parked at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. On Monday, Sept. 14, search crews found a body in the Notch below McHenry's and Powell Peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).   

The Glacier Gorge Traverse is an expansive route including 11 peak summits over roughly 19 miles. It entails sections of fifth class climbing and difficult terrain, according to the release.

A tip line for sightings of Grunwald was set up and crews said tips received were helpful in pinpointing their search efforts.

Credit: Rocky Mountain National Park

RMNP rangers completed an on-scene investigation and recovery operations took place by helicopter Monday. The body was flown to a landing zone in the Wild Basin area of RMNP and transferred to the Larimer County Coroner’s Office. The coroner determined Grunwald's death to be from multiple blunt force injuries and deemed it an accident. 

A team consisting of a park ranger and members of Front Range Rescue Dogs were flown to the Thatchtop area. The dog team aided greatly in finding Grunwald, according to the park.

RMNP said Friday's search efforts were hampered by winter-like conditions, including 8-10 inches of drifting snow, 30-degree temperatures and winds of 50 miles per hour producing wind chills of 11 degrees. That made it for a low probability of finding Grunwald, RMNP said.

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