By Dillon Thomas
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (CBS4)– The search for a Fort Collins man who went missing while hiking Mount Meeker nearly a week earlier, was underway Friday in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Brian Perri, 38, was last known to be day hiking on June 30 in the Mount Meeker area. That day, he texted a picture of himself to a friend from the summit of Mount Meeker. He had minimal equipment and did not have a tent or camping equipment.
Friends described Perri as an avid hiker, who summited 14ers around Colorado regularly.
However, Perri failed to contact any of his friends after completing his hike. The last contact he had with any of his friends was at the moment he summited Meeker.
“He texted a friend a photo of him on the summit of Mount Meeker,” said Kyle Patterson, spokesperson for Rocky Mountain National Park.
Patterson said friends grew concerned after Perri did not respond to their messages. Friends said he only took enough gear for a day hike to the summit.
“He was not planning on doing anything other than a day hike,” Patterson said.
After park rangers were notified of the missing man, they located Perri’s car in the parking lot of the Sandbeach Lake Trailhead.
Though Meeker is not a 14er, it comes in close with an elevation of 13,911 feet.
“For some, that would take hours,” Patterson said.
However, Patterson said she didn’t expect such a hike to take someone days.
Before nightfall on Thursday, a Flight For Life helicopter assisted more than two dozen park staff in a brief aerial search near the summit of Mount Meeker, but it turned up nothing.
Early Friday morning, Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members began a ground search. The search is focused on the summit of Mount Meeker and the ridge lines extending off the summit above tree line.
“Our ground search efforts have been focused on the summit of Mount Meeker,” Patterson said.
Patterson said, due to Perri’s car being parked at one of the lower lots along the trail, the search area was large.
“That adds to the challenge, to try to determine what route he has taken, and what area he was taking,” Patterson said.
Northern Colorado Helitack assisted in the search on Friday.
In past decades, a hiker was found alive, after walking through the forest of the park for more than three days.
With some water sources available on Mount Meeker, Patterson said search teams are remaining hopeful that Perri would be found alive as well.
Friends told CBS4 they were trying to keep their hopes up, as days continued to pass.
In the picture he texted from Mount Meeker, Perri was wearing a tan full brim hat, sunglasses, and red backpack. He may have a yellow rain jacket and yellow orange puffy jacket. He had no known tent or camping equipment. Perri is 5-foot-9 and weighs 160 pounds.
Park rangers would like to hear from anyone who has been in the Mount Meeker area since Saturday, June 30. Especially those who noticed abandoned gear or other clues. Please call (970) 586-1204.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.