Rocky Mountain National Park suspends search for missing Tennessee man

Rocky Mountain National Park crews have suspended the broad search for James Pruitt, who after his car was found in the park earlier this month.

Pruitt, 70, of Etowah, Tenn., arrived in the area on Feb. 22 and hiked in the Bear Lake area numerous times during the week. This was his third winter visit to Rocky Mountain National Park over the past three years.

His car was found parked at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead on March 3, and his family said Pruitt had not been heard from since 10 a.m. Feb. 28.

James Pruitt

Active search efforts took place from March 3 to March 9, with the overall search area encompassing 15 square miles and included the Glacier Gorge drainage, the Loch Vale drainage and the Glacier Creek drainage.

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, and encountered chest-deep snow in many areas.

A fixed-wing aerial search also was conducted over Sky Pond, Lake Haiyaha, Flattop Mountain and Bierstadt Lake.

Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue, Larimer County Search and Rescue, Rocky Mountain Rescue, Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol, Douglas County Search and Rescue, Alpine Rescue Team, numerous dog teams from Larimer County Search and Rescue, Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States, and the Colorado Search and Rescue Board all assisted in the search.

While the broad search is suspended, patrols will still search the area, and further search efforts may still be scheduled as weather conditions improve or leads on Pruitt‘s location are found.

Pruitt may have been wearing a blue jacket, red or orange hat and microspikes on hiking boots.

Anyone who has been in the Glacier Gorge and Bear Lake areas since Thursday or who might have had with Pruitt or who might have known where he was going is asked to call.

Two other people went missing in Rocky Mountain National in 2018 and have yet to be found.

Ryan Albert of New Jersey went missing in October, and Micah Tice disappeared in November. The active searches for both have been suspended with no signs of them found.

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