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Contact: Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Officer, (970) 586-1363
Contact: Park Information, (970) 586-1206Today marks the fourth day of search efforts for James Pruitt, 70, of Etowah, TN in Rocky Mountain National Park. Today searchers are concentrating their efforts in the Lake Haiyaha area, the Chaos Creek area and in heavily forested areas near Bear Lake and the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. Yesterday, search efforts were focused in the Nymph Lake area, Mario’s Gully east of Lake Haiyaha and the Alberta Falls area. A dog team assisted in the search in the Alberta Falls area. A multi-mission aircraft (MMA) from the State of Colorado assisted efforts yesterday with fixed-wing aerial reconnaissance over Sky Pond, Lake Haiyaha, Flattop Mountain and Bierstadt Lake.
The overall search area encompasses approximately 15 square miles and includes the Glacier Gorge drainage, the Loch Vale drainage and the Glacier Creek drainage. Approximately 30 people are involved in today’s operations including 16 in the field, yesterday approximately 35 people were in the field. Resource needs change daily based on search areas to be covered and availability of searchers. Off snow packed trails, searchers are encountering chest deep snow in numerous areas. Wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour are predicated for today as well as additional snowfall. There was more than two feet of snow accumulation in the Glacier Gorge area between Thursday, February 28 and Sunday, March 3. The recent snowfall in this mountainous terrain make finding clues to Pruitt’s whereabouts even more difficult.
Assisting Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue Team members today include Larimer County Search and Rescue (LCSAR), Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol, a dog team from Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States and the Colorado Search and Rescue Board. Yesterday, in addition to those listed above, assistance was provided by Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, Douglas County Search and Rescue and Alpine Rescue Team.
After a vehicle parked at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead (9,240 feet) was determined to belong to Pruitt Sunday morning, March 3, rangers contacted Pruitt’s family in Tennessee. His family confirmed he was in the area and hadn’t been heard from since Thursday morning, February 28, at approximately 10 am. Pruitt arrived to the area on February 22 and hiked in the Bear Lake area numerous times during the week. This was Pruitt’s third winter visit to Rocky Mountain National Park over the past three years.
Pruitt may be wearing a blue jacket, red or orange hat and microspikes on hiking boots. Park rangers would like to hear from anyone who has been in the Glacier Gorge and Bear Lake areas since Thursday, February 28, or who may have had contact with Pruitt during his other hikes leading up to February 28. Please call Rocky Mountain National Park at (970) 586-1204.
Last updated: March 6, 2019