American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Climbing Alone, Inadequate Equipment, Heavy Snowfall, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1984

CLIMBING ALONE, INADEQUATE EQUIPMENT, HEAVY SNOWFALL

Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park

On February 13, 1983, Rudi Moder (27) departed the Zimmerman Lake trailhead on Colorado Highway 14 near Cameron Pass for a two- to three-night solo ski mountaineering trip over Thunder Pass and down into the Ditch Camp 3 area in Rocky Mountain National Park. According to friends, Moder was planning to take day trips from a base camp he planned to establish in the area. Moder was last seen by friends in the Zimmerman Lake area about 0900 on February 13 as he headed on up while his friends headed back to the trailhead. Moder was described as an experienced winter mountaineer, with two years experience in the German Army Mountain Corps and two Himalayan expeditions, very fit, and a strong ski mountaineer

On February 19, Hans Moosmueller (Moder’s roommate) reported that Moder was overdue to the Larimer County Sheriffs Office. Search plans and further investigation were initiated and search teams were in the field early on February 20. A food cache belonging to Moder was found at the mouth of Box Canyon. On February 21 a snow cave was found about 15 meters from the food cache. Only a very small hole was evident due to heavy snowfall of 30 cm on February 19. These were the only positive clues found during the intensive four-day search. As of this date, December 29, 1983, Moder is still missing and presumed dead. (Source: Charlie Logan, Rocky Mountain National Park)

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