The weekend brought a tragic ending on Colorado's Longs Peak when the body of a missing hiker was found near the Keyhole Route.

According to Rocky Mountain National Park, the body of 25-year-old Russell Jacobs, from Westminster, was recovered on Sunday from the Keyhole Route.

Doug Rudnik
Doug Rudnik

Rangers Have Contact With Missing Hiker

The Park says Jacobs had contacted a friend by cell phone Friday afternoon saying he was lost and the weather was getting worse. Reports indicate Jacobs was not prepared for winter conditions or to spend an unplanned night at elevations above 13,000 feet.

Park rangers were able to contact Jacobs via text message and determined his location, but then lost contact with him. The park's Search and Rescue team began searching the Boulder Field and Keyhole area Friday afternoon, but efforts were hampered by accumulating snow, ice, 35 MPH winds, below-freezing temperatures, and nightfall.

Search efforts resumed Saturday morning in winter-like conditions and the man's body was found about 80 feet above The Ledges. The Boulder County Coroner's office will be releasing the cause of death.

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Longs Peak Is One of the Most Dangerous Hikes In the World

There is a reason why Longs Peak has been called one of the 20 most dangerous hikes in the world.  According to a post on rockymountainhikingtrails.blogspot, 71 people died on the mountain between 1915 and 2021. Narrow ledges, exposure to steep cliffs, and nature's elements all contribute to the potential for disaster.

Photo by Doug Rudnik
Photo by Doug Rudnik

20 Deaths On the Keyhole Route

About 70% of all of the deaths on Longs Peak have been the result of falls. Other deaths have been attributed to factors such as hypothermia, heart attacks, lightning, and exposure. The Keyhole Route has experienced the most fatalities with 20 - and nine of those have happened since 2009.


Thousands of people traverse Longs Peak every year, but, the park website warns hikers that the Keyhole Route "is not a walk in the park. People need to know their limitations, know what to expect, be prepared for a variety of conditions, and be aware of the risks involved.

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