Body of former Oregon resident, Eagle Scout recovered at Colorado peak
Man set out on mountain on Sunday
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. — Searchers have recovered the body of a former Oregon, Wisconsin, resident who was reported missing after he told friends he planned to climb the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Park officials say 25-year-old Peter Jeffris’ body was spotted by a helicopter search crew Thursday about 200 feet below a popular route up Longs Peak.
Jeffris was a 2007 graduate of Edgewood High School, an Eagle Scout and was honored by the United Way of Dane County as the 2007 Community Youth Service Award winner. He left his mark on his hometown of Oregon by spending more than a hundred hours building a duplex in 2006 for Habitat for Humanity.
“He was enthusiastic and focused and did anything they wanted him to do,” said Oregon Habitat volunteer Bernie Treichel. “He often would be the first one on the site and be the last one to leave.”
Jeffris was living in Colorado and still has family in Oregon.
Peter Jeffris’ mother, Jeanne Jeffris, when reached Friday said he had planned the climb of Long’s Peak carefully and researched the route.
She said he’d done this climb several times in winter and had recently purchased new gear for the hike. She said she spoke to him last Friday, when he said he’d run with his boss but was “saving his legs for the climb on Sunday.”
Jeffris’ mother said he was in great shape and was a well-prepared climber but had only taken what he needed for a day trip and not an overnight camp on the trail. She said the family is comforted that he was where he wanted to be when he died, as he loved spending time in the mountains.
Authorities said Jeffris set out for the top of the 14,259-foot mountain Sunday. His car was found at the Longs Peak trailhead after he didn’t show up for work Monday at a space robotics company.
Ground teams had been searching more than 20 square miles around the peak, but high winds and cold weather hampered the effort.
Thousands of hikers reach the summit of Longs Peak every year, but some routes require technical climbing skills, especially in wintry weather.
Jeffris’ former scoutmaster, Tim Le Brun, says Jeffris was in great shape and prepared for such a climb.
“Through scouting we had been on rock-climbing adventures, on mountaineering adventures in New Mexico, we had been on survival hikes where you prepare for things like this,” Le Brun said.
Le Brun says he’s not sure what may have led to Jeffris death but that he’ll be remembered fondly in Oregon.
“He was a cautious person, but not at the expense of the adventure,” Le Brun said.
Jeffris was a graduate of the University of Colorado in mechanical engineering.
Funeral arrangements are still being made.