Crews recover body in Rocky Mountain National Park avalanche. 2 people rescued, 1 dead

Courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park
Avalanche debris on Dreamweaver Couloir on Mount Meeker May 29, 2022.

Updated May 31, 2022 at 5:14 p.m.

Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Teams have recovered the body of the man killed in Sunday's avalanche. Crews took advantage of a weather window early Tuesday.

The body was flown to a landing zone in the Upper Beaver Meadows area of Rocky Mountain National Park and transferred to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. Boulder County Coroner’s office will not release the identity of the man until completion of an autopsy, according to a press release.

The man died after an avalanche and rockslide caught him and two other climbers at Rocky Mountain National Park Sunday.

Rescue crews found the body of the male climber Sunday evening in avalanche debris on Mount Meeker. But winter weather conditions delayed recovery of the body.

"At approximately 5:15 p.m. Sunday night, the deceased male was located by searchers who were using a RECCO device and probing in avalanche debris," a park official said in a statement.

Crews also found the two other climbers in the area earlier Sunday as they faced difficult winter weather conditions during the rescue operations. A spokesperson said they were only able to rescue the two survivors during a brief window where weather subsided around 2 p.m. Sunday.

Due to "the location and severity of injuries" of 27-year-old Michael Grieg of Albuquerque, New Mexico, a Colorado National Guard helicopter from Buckley Air Force Base was used to rescue him via a hoist operation, using a winch operated cable.

Grieg was flown to a landing spot in Upper Beaver Meadows and quickly flown to Medical Center of the Rockies via Northern Colorado Med Evac air ambulance.

Lillian Martinez, 24, also from Albuquerque, only suffered minor injuries and was flown to Upper Beaver Meadows at 4:15 p.m. Sunday where she was transferred by ground for further medical care.

According to park officials, rescue teams worked on terrain above 11,500 feet in winter weather conditions.

Other climbers in the area reported the avalanche, which happened around 9 a.m. Sunday, near Mount Meeker — a popular climbing area in the south part of the park.

Most park trails are still icy and snow packed. Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in North America, closed again Sunday after reopening for the first time this year just two days ago.

As temperatures continue to rise, Colorado safety officials warn there is an increased risk of loose, wet avalanches.

CPR's Nathaniel Minor contributed to this report.