Skeletal remains found in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) in 2020 are believed to belong to Rudi Moder, a German hiker who was reported missing in February 1983 after failing to return from a multi-day hike.

Subsequent searches for multiple years yielded no clues to the missing Moder, a hiker residing in Fort Collins, Colorado. Until in August 2020, a hiker found human remains in the Skeleton Gulch area near avalanche debris.

The area in which Moder’s bones were found had been part of the searched perimeters during the time of his disappearance. Remains were found along with skis, poles and boots, together with personal items believed to be owned by Moder.

Moder’s roommate was the one who raised the missing alarm to the authorities. The search involved avalanche sniffer dogs, a team of rescuers on skis and in snow shoes, and a helicopter.

A thorough investigation couldn’t be accomplished 38 years ago. The investigation was left incomplete at that time due to two huge wildfires that occurred. Also, the massive 11,000 feet of snow during the rescuers search investigation in 1983 prevented them from tracking Moder’s footprints. They had conducted a four-day search, wherein they only found his food, gears and sleeping bag located inside a cave.

“He was back country skiing in a remote area, northwest of Rocky Mountain National Park,” according to the park’s spokesperson, Kyle Patterson. "The timing of that storm, right before a major search occurred, certainly added to the challenge back then,” he added.

Moder, 27 years old at that time, was claimed to have an experience as a winter mountaineer. Experts believed that he was killed in an avalanche because the area where they found his remains was active during the time of the incident.

The Grand County Coroner’s office studied dental records to officially identify the remains, still the results were inconclusive.

The U.S. officials have been working hand in hand with the German government in identifying the remains and getting in touch with Moder's family. Full efforts to properly identify the remains and hopefully close the cold case of Moder are still in the process.

File picture of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
People walk near the Trail Ridge Road May 23, 2003 in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. The road was opened for the season May 23 after crews spent a month plowing through the 15-foot-deep snowdrifts. Rising to an altitude of 12,183 feet above sea level the road is the highest contiguous paved highway in the country. The park is anticipating It's third busiest weekend, next to the Fourth of July and Labor Day. Photo by Kevin Moloney/Getty Images

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