Chad Pallansch: Rescuers continue search for Colorado hiker missing in Rocky Mountain National Park

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Rescuers in northern Colorado say they are still searching from the air and on the ground for a 49-year-old man who went missing late last month in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Chad Pallansch of Fort Collins, Colorado, was last heard from via text message around noon on September 27, according to the National Park Service.

The text “indicated he was almost to the summit of Mount Alice and roughly 7 miles from the Bear Lake area,” a news release stated.

Pallansch, described as a “fit runner with both trail running and marathon experience,” was reported overdue on September 28, the park service said.

Rangers found his vehicle parked at the North Inlet Trailhead on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Pallansch began his route from the East Inlet Trailhead near Grand Lake. His reported itinerary included a 28-mile route “which included crossing the Continental Divide and traveling on established trails as well as off-trail travel through steep talus slopes,” according to a release.

“Pallansch had not attempted this route previously, but is an experienced trail runner who has run numerous routes in the park, including Longs Peak, more than 30 times,” park officials said.

Although Pallansch had personal navigation with him, the device was not designed for emergency assistance, according to the park service.

At least 77 rescuers were involved in aerial and ground search efforts by Saturday, the 10th day of the search, including three dog teams and a state Department of Fire Prevention and Control drone team.

A portion of the park is closed off from Mount Alice to McHenry’s Peak to help limit scent distractions for the dog teams, according to a release Saturday.

The ground search for Pallansch has been hampered by weather conditions including snow, ice and wind at high elevations, the park service said.

Cloud cover lifted Friday afternoon and weather for air operations improved, according to a release.

“Aerial reconnaissance via helicopter took place to take additional high-resolution photographs of high elevation ridgeline areas,” the release on Saturday stated.

Pallansch is described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall and “likely wearing a black ultralight jacket, black running shorts or leggings and a gray fanny pack,” the park service said.


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