Sunday, 28 Nov 2021

Rocky Mountain Skeletal remains believed to be missing Rudi Moder

Remains found in Rocky Mountain National Park last year are believed to be those of a man from Fort Collins who went missing in the park almost 40 years ago.

On Feb. 13, 1983, Rudi Moder, a West German living in Fort Collins described as an experienced winter mountaineer, left the Zimmerman Lake Trailhead on Colo. 17 near Cameron Pass for a two-to-three-night ski mountaineering trip over Thunder Pass and into Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Moder, 27, was reported overdue by his roommate six days later, but early search and investigation efforts were limited by heavy snowfall. A food cache and snow cave with Moder’s sleeping bag and other gear and items were found at the mouth of Box Canyon, but no other signs of Moder were found by the time the initial search was halted later in the month.

In August 2020, skeletal remains were discovered by a hiker in the Skeleton Gulch area near avalanche debris, according to a release. Rangers conducted an initial investigation at the scene but could not complete the investigation due to closures and shifting priorities caused by the Cameron Peak Fire and then the East Troublesome Fire.

Due to snow, park rangers were not able to return until the summer, when they found skis, poles and boots, along with remains of personal items believed to belong to Moder.

The Grand County Coroner’s office attempted to confirm identification through dental records, but the results were inconclusive.

Officials have worked extensively with the German government for repatriation, family notification and dental record analysis.

“In the decades following Moder’s disappearance, search efforts continued periodically by Rocky Mountain National Park staff and Larimer County Search and Rescue Teams,” Rocky Mountain National Park officials said in a statement. “The discovery and recovery of Rudi Moder’s remains closes out a nearly four decade long cold case at Rocky Mountain National Park.”

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