Broad-scale search efforts suspended for Etowah man missing in the Rockies

In this March 6 picture, a person searches the Lake Haiyaha area for missing Etowah man James Pruitt (Image courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park)

Rescue teams have suspended their active search for an Etowah man who went missing in the Rocky Mountain National Park more than a week ago, but they're still asking people for help.

The family of James Pruitt confirmed he was in the area and hadn’t been heard from since Thursday morning, February 28th, around 10 a.m.

An intense search for Pruitt began on Sunday, March 3. Between the 28th and the 3rd, the National Park Service (NPS) says more than two feet of snow had accumulated in the Glacier Gorge area, making efforts even more difficult.

Crews searched about 15 square miles, including 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.

The active search lasted through March 9.

The NPS says that patrols will continue in the search area, and further action may be considered as conditions improve. Crews will investigate reported clues as appropriate.

The NPS says Pruitt is still considered a missing person, and park rangers would like to hear from anyone who was in the Glacier Gorge and Bear Lake areas between Feb. 28 and March 3, or who may have had contact with him during other hikes leading up to this point.

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

If you have ANY information, please call Rocky Mountain National Park at 970-586-1204.

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