Search efforts for missing man in Rocky Mountain National Park do not yield any clues | VailDaily.com

Search efforts for missing man in Rocky Mountain National Park do not yield any clues

Search efforts for James Pruitt in the Lake Haiyaha Area on March 6. Courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park

Ahead of Thursday’s snowstorm, search and rescue officials in Rocky Mountain National Park conducted search efforts for a Tennessee man who went missing at the park in February.

Search efforts for James Pruitt, 70, of Etowah, Tennessee, began on March 3, when park rangers found Pruitt’s car parked at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead and contacted his family. The family reported that they hadn’t heard from Pruitt since the morning of Feb. 28.

On Wednesday, 40 park officials searched the Prospect Canyon area and the Glacier Gorge drainage above Jewel Lake, but were unsuccessful in finding any clues to Pruitt’s whereabouts.

Beginning in March, crews searched the Glacier Gorge area, including the Loch Vale drainage and the Glacier Creek drainage, and conducted aerial reconnaissance. The total search area encompassed 15 square miles.

Searchers concentrated efforts in the heavily forested areas near Bear Lake and the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, the Nymph Lake area, Chaos Creek area, the Alberta Falls area, Lake Haiyaha, Mario’s Gully east of Lake Haiyaha and the winter trails to Mills Lake and The Loch.

However, before crews began search efforts, around 2 feet of snow had fallen between Feb. 28 and March 3, making it difficult to find clues. Crews also encountered chest deep snow drifts off trails.

Ultimately, large-scale efforts to search for Pruitt were suspended on March 18. Throughout the summer, smaller teams have focused search efforts in other segments of the search area.

Park officials also noted that the area has been visited heavily in the four months Rocky was open for the season.