National Park

Remains in Rocky Mountain National Park, man has been missing for 38 years


Ground search operations in 1983 for Rudi Moder.

Rocky Mountain National Park

An experienced climber went missing in Rocky Mountain National Park 38 years ago. Park officials now believe they have found his remains.

Rudi Moder, 27 from West Germany, left on a two or three night ski mountaineering trip on February 13, 1983. His roommate reported it late a few days later, and he didn’t. has never been seen again.

“Search operations and further investigation were initiated, and search teams were in the field by early February 20, 1983,” Colorado park rangers said in a news release on Nov. 4. “More than a foot of snow fell in the Never Summer Mountains on February 19, hampering search efforts to find tracks and other clues.”

Park officials found a food cache, sleeping bag and other equipment that belonged to Moder during their search. They were the only clue found for years.

Search teams continued to search the area this spring and summer, but never found anything, park officials said.

In August 2020, however, a hiker discovered skeletal remains in the same area as the original search, according to the National Park Service.

At the time, the rangers opened an investigation at the scene. They were unable to complete it due to forest fires and snow covering the high altitude, park rangers said.

“This summer, park rangers searched the area again and found skis, poles and boots, as well as the remains of personal items believed to belong to Moder,” the rangers said.

The FBI helped park rangers collect the remains, and they were sent to the Grand County Coroner’s Office for identification. However, the results of the identification tests by dental records were inconclusive.

Park officials still believe the remains are Moder, and they have worked with the German government to notify his family.

“In the decades since Moder’s disappearance, search efforts have continued periodically by Rocky Mountain National Park personnel and Larimer County search and rescue teams,” the National Park Service said. “The discovery and recovery of Rudi Moder’s remains ends an almost four-decade cold case in Rocky Mountain National Park.”

Maddie Capron is a McClatchy real-time reporter focused on the outdoors and wildlife in the Western United States.