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Search efforts suspended for missing Tennessee man in Rocky Mountain National Park

Active search efforts for James Pruitt, 70, took place through March 9.
Credit: NPS
Photo of James Pruitt

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK - Large search efforts for a missing Tennesee man in Rocky Mountain National Park have been suspended, the park said in a release.

First reponders began looking for James Pruitt, 70, of Etowah, Tennessee in the Glacier Gorge area on March 3, after a vehicle parked at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead was determined to belong to Pruitt that morning.

Family members confirmed that he was in the area and hadn’t been heard from since February 28, around 10 a.m.

More than two feet of snow accumulated in the Glacier Gorge area between Thursday, February 28 and Sunday, March 3. That significant snowfall in mountainous terrain added to the challenge of search efforts, making finding clues to Pruitt’s whereabouts even more difficult, according to a news release.

Credit: RMNP
James Pruitt on Sunday, Feb. 24 on the winter trail between Nymph Lake and Dream Lake.

Active search efforts took place through March 9. The overall search area encompassed approximately 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. Off snow packed trails, searchers encountered chest deep snow in numerous areas.

Patrols will continue to occur in the search area, and further actions may be considered as conditions improve. Reported clues will be investigated as appropriate.

Park rangers would like to hear from anyone who was in the Glacier Gorge and Bear Lake areas between Thursday, February 28 and March 3, or who may have had contact with Pruitt during his other hikes leading up to February 28. Pruitt may be wearing a blue jacket, red or orange hat and microspikes on hiking boots. Please call Rocky Mountain National Park at (970) 586-1204.

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