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Contact: Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Officer, (970) 586-1363
Contact: Park Information, (970) 586-1206Beginning Friday morning, December 7, through Sunday, December 9 search activities for Micah Tice were focused from the Granite Pass area to the northern lower slopes of Longs Peak, including the Wind River and Boulder Brook drainages. On Monday, December 10, due to conducive weather conditions at high elevations on Longs Peak, teams focused their efforts on the Keyhole Route to the summit of Longs Peak as well as the Chasm Lake area, Clark’s Arrow and the Loft. On Tuesday, December 11, searchers again focused efforts in the Wind River drainage.
Searchers continue to experience chest deep snow, thick snow covered forests, and vast areas of dead and down trees, especially in drainages away from snow packed trails. At higher elevations, winds scour the landscape leaving it bare or depositing deep drifted snow. These conditions have existed since the first day of search operations and can cover or erase clues.
On December 4, search managers announced that overall search operations had been suspended and that search activities may occur during winter months if conditions allow. Friday through Tuesday’s search efforts were part of these search activities.
On Monday afternoon, November 26, park rangers were notified that the Air Force Academy was asking for assistance in locating Cadet Candidate Micah Tice, 20, of Las Vegas, Nevada. His vehicle was subsequently located at the Longs Peak Trailhead at approximately 3:30 p.m. on November 26. At sunrise, Tuesday, November 27, active search efforts began in the Longs Peak area of Rocky Mountain National Park for Tice.
Tice was last seen on Saturday, November 24, by other park visitors between 7:30 and 8 a.m. in the Battle Mountain Area. The visitors indicated the weather was terrible at the Longs Peak Trailhead and that visibility and weather conditions continued to worsen. Tice was reported to be wearing a black sweatshirt, black sweatpants, a black hat, black lightweight gloves, tennis shoes and a light blue backpack. The visitors discouraged Tice to continue to the summit due to his clothing, footwear and weather conditions. Micah had apparently not communicated his plans to anyone.
Over a seven day intensive search period, ground and aerial searchers covered an approximate 10 square mile search area. These efforts were focused on sections of the Longs Peak Trail, the East Longs Peak Trail, the Battle Mountain area, Granite Pass, Jim’s Grove, the Boulder Field, Mount Lady Washington, Chasm Lake, Peacock Pool, the Boulder Brook drainage, the Storm Pass Trail, and the Wind River drainage. On Sunday, December 2, the first day conditions were conducive to flying this area, search managers assigned aerial searchers from the Colorado Air National Guard to perform reconnaissance of the entire Keyhole Route to the summit of Longs Peak. They had tried previously on November 27, but were curtailed due to wind gusts over 90 mph on Longs Peak.
Few clues have been discovered during search efforts. Depending on the search area and day, team members have encountered harsh winter conditions including extreme winds, low visibility, bitter wind chills, below freezing temperatures, deep snow and high avalanche danger.
The park has worked closely with the US Air Force Academy since the beginning of this incident, coordinating investigative and operational assistance, and incorporating a team from the Air Force Academy Mountaineering Club in search efforts. The Air Force Academy Colorado Parents’ Club coordinated efforts from numerous organizations and individuals to donate daily meals for searchers.
Also assisting Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members has been Larimer County Search and Rescue, Rocky Mountain Rescue based in Boulder County, Colorado Air National Guard, Alpine Rescue Team, Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol, Colorado Avalanche Information Center, Grand County Search and Rescue, Douglas County Search and Rescue, Colorado Search and Rescue Board, Summit County Rescue Group Dog Team, Front Range Rescue Dogs, and FLIR Systems Inc. who volunteered their services to conduct thermal imaging of the search area.
Micah Tice is still a missing person and our investigation will continue in hopes of gaining further information as to his plans on the day of his disappearance. Park rangers would like to hear from anyone who may have had contact with Micah Tice or have information on his planned route. Please call (970) 586-1204.