Search and rescue teams recover body of man killed in RMNP avalanche

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. — Search and rescue teams were able to recover the body of a man who died in an avalanche in Rocky Mountain National Park on Sunday.

Crews found the man’s body late Sunday afternoon after two other people were rescued. The trio were climbing near Dreamweaver Couloir on Mount Meeker around 9 a.m. when other nearby climbers reported seeing rockfall and an avalanche near the group.

Crews found a seriously injured man and requested assistance from a Colorado National Guard helicopter to extricate him. He was hoisted out of the area around 2 p.m. in fine weather and transported to the Medical Center of the Rockies, park officials said. A woman was slightly injured and was airlifted to Upper Beaver Meadows at 4:15 p.m. and then transferred to the ground for further medical treatment.

Members of the Rocky Mountain National Park search and rescue team found the third deceased person in the avalanche debris using a RECCO device and probing in the snow. However, winter weather conditions prevented the team from recovering his body on Sunday, park staff said.

They took advantage of a brief but good weather window on Tuesday and flew a helicopter to the area to retrieve the body. He was transferred to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office.

His name has not been released, but RMNP personnel have identified the injured man as Michael Grieg, 27, and the injured woman as Lillian Martinez, 24, both of Albuquerque, New Mexico .

The CAIC said it was the seventh person killed in an avalanche in the state this season. There were 11 people buried and 19 people caught in avalanches during this period.

Colorado Search and Rescue Association, Flight for Life, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, Front Range Rescue Dogs, Colorado National Guard and MedEvac assisted in these rescues.