Search For Missing Mountaineer In Rocky Mountain National Park Enters Fourth Day

Searchers in Hunter’s Creek area glassing Keplinger’s Coulier/NPS

While spring is spreading across lower elevations of Colorado, climbing rangers in Rocky Mountain National Park have been dealing with wintry weather and whiteout conditions at times in their search for a mountaineer missing since possibly summiting Longs Peak on Sunday.

Searchers have been reviewing aerial reconnaissance photos taken on Monday for any possible clues as to what happened to Lucas Macaj, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. On Wednesday ground teams skied into the Hunter’s Creek drainage to the base of Keplinger’s Coulier, while a dog team searched the Longs Peak Trail to Battle Mountain Junction. A third team reached the park’s Chasm Shelter near Chasm Lake to scan the Loft and other areas between 14,259-foot-high Longs Peak and Mount Meeker. That team was to overnight in the shelter and early Thursday climb the Clark’s Arrow Route to the top of Keplinger’s Coulier.

Also on Wednesday, aircraft from the Colorado Army National Guard conducted additional aerial reconnaissance in Keplinger’s Coulier and the Loft as well as the Keyhole Route. Low clouds at roughly 12,700 feet hampered visibility.  Teams Tuesday were unable to be safely inserted via helicopter into the Loft area and the Keyhole Route on Longs Peak due to strong winds, white out conditions, and low visibility.

Macaj was reported overdue late Sunday night after attempting to summit Longs Peak. Early Monday morning rangers confirmed his vehicle was still parked at the Longs Peak Trailhead. Macaj was last heard from at approximately 1 p.m. Sunday when he texted a friend indicating that he was on the summit of Longs Peak, according to a park release. Significant storms moved through high elevations in the park Sunday afternoon.

Macaj started from the Longs Peak Trailhead early Sunday, to summit Longs Peak via the Keyhole Route.  He is likely wearing a dark colored top, tan or brown pants, khaki-colored boots, and a black backpack. He may also be wearing a beanie and dark colored gloves. Macaj is described as 5’9,” 155 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.

If you have information that could help investigators, if you may have seen Lucas Macaj, or if you were in the areas listed above on May 12, you’re asking to contact park staff. You don’t have to identify yourself, but please tell provide staff with what you know. CALL the National Park Service Investigative Services Bureau Tip Line 888-653-0009, ONLINE form

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