Colorado Officials Find Body in Canyon Next to National Park: Report

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by: Jon G. Fuller/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Earlier this week, the Montrose Country Sheriff’s Office announced it recovered a body in the Red Canyon area, near the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. According to a press release, authorities have been searching for a missing hunter that was reported in the area. Calvin Prochnow of Grand Junction has been missing since last Sunday (October 30th). More than 75 people have assisted in the search and rescue effort. Crews have also searched over 1,300 acres based on the last known location of Prochnow. 

However, on Tuesday (November 1st), flight crews noticed a boy on the south side of the Red Canyon outside the national park. Recovery crews flew in by helicopter the next day. This is due to the area being too rough for search and recovery teams to access on their own. The team hiked in to begin the recovery process. 

Commander of the sheriff’s office, Ty Cox, spoke about Prochnow and the body discovered. “As an avid outdoor community, this type of incident affects us all. We would like to express our condolences to the Prochnow family and community. On behalf of the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, we are grateful to our partners for their assistance with this search and recovery effort—this recovery would not have been possible without the additional resources and volunteers.”

The Daily Sentinel reported that 69-year-old Calvin Prochnow went missing on Sunday. He was separated from his hunting partner two miles from Black Canyon in Gunnison National Park. Prochnow had left his backpack and cell phone in his Jeep before going out with his partner. 

At this time, the identification of the body is pending official release from the Montrose County Coroner’s Office. It was noted that the office does not suspect foul play. The case is currently under investigation. 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Officials Warn to ‘Take It Easy’ At High Altitude 

On the National Park website, the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park warns visitors to take it easy when it comes to the area’s high altitude. The canyon rim is notably 8,000 feet above sea level. 

“Take precautions, drink plenty of water, and slow down,” the website reads. “Symptoms of mild Acute Mountain Sickness (altitude sickness) include mild headaches, increased breathing, rapid pulse, nausea, loss of appetite, lack of energy, and general malaise. These are warning signs not to go any higher than you already are.”

The website reveals that in order to avoid altitude sickness, it is recommended that visitors spend at least one night at a moderate elevation before ascending. “Climb as high as you like during the day, but never spend the night more than 1,000 feet higher than the night before. Never take a headache with you when ascending. Treat the headache before going any higher. If you can’t treat it, you’re already too high.”