Severe weather hampers Vail-area search for missing man |

Severe weather hampers Vail-area search for missing man

James McGrogan

EAGLE COUNTY — Tuesday’s severe weather forced searchers to suspend their efforts to find an Indiana man lost since Friday afternoon.

Dr. James McGrogan disappeared after he became separated from his three friends as they were headed to the Eiseman Hut, north of Vail.

When he left the group, McGrogan had a large pack with food, water, and a full compliment of back country gear. When the group reached the hut, McGrogan wasn’t there.

They called the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office about 5:30 p.m. Friday and searchers immediately headed for the area, said local law enforcement officials.

They’ve been scouring an 18-square-mile area since then, said Dan Smith with the Vail Mountain Rescue Group.

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The area is covered in about 8 feet of snow, and is about 11,400 feet above sea level, Smith said.

So far, search crews have spent more than 1,000 man hours and 30 helicopter hours in their efforts. It costs about $5,000 per blade hour, but no one ever gets charged for rescue efforts, Smith said.

The helicopter searches operate through the Colorado National Guard’s High Altitude Aviation Training Site (HAATS), based at the Eagle County Regional Airport.

Search and rescue crews have included the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Vail Mountain Rescue Group, Colorado Army National Guard High Altitude Aviation Training Site, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, Alpine Rescue Group, Larimer County Search and Rescue Group, Summit County Rescue Group, Grand County Search and Rescue Group, and the Salvation Army.

The search will resume Wednesday morning.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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