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Colorado Man Dies In Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry

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A Colorado man who turned back rather than continue toward the roof of Rocky Mountain National Park with two friends has been found dead in the park.

Officials said the body of the 39-year-old from Thornton, Colorado, was recovered Sunday in the Longs Peak area, about halfway up "The Loft," an area between Longs Peak and Mount Meeker in the park.

Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said the man was last seen at the top of The Loft at approximately 9:30 a.m. Saturday. He was winter mountaineering with two acquaintances when he reportedly decided to descend to return to the Longs Peak Trailhead, she said. The three men had left the Longs Peak Trailhead Saturday at 2:30 a.m. with the intent to summit Longs Peak.

When the other two men arrived back at the Longs Peak Trailhead later in the day, the third man’s vehicle was still in the parking area. They contacted park rangers at 6:15 p.m. to report the third member of their party was overdue.

An investigation into the fatality was ongoing. The man’s body was recovered by a long line helicopter operation at 6:30 p.m. Sunday and transferred to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. His name will be released when next of kin are notified.

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