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Search continues for missing trail runner in Rocky Mountain National Park

Chad Pallansch, 49, was last heard from around noon on Sept. 27 via text message and reported overdue on Sept. 28, according to officials with the national park.
missing Chad Pallansch
Posted at 4:18 PM, Oct 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-07 18:33:23-04

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK — The search continues for a missing Fort Collins trail runner in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).

Chad Pallansch, 49, was last heard from around noon on Sept. 27 via text message and reported overdue on Sept. 28, according to officials with the national park. Park rangers located his vehicle at the North Inlet Trailhead on the west side of RMNP.

According to the text, Pallansch was almost to the summit of Mount Alice and roughly seven miles from the Bear Lake area.

Pallansch started from the East Inlet Trailhead near Grand Lake on Sept. 27. According to RMNP, he was attempting a 28-mile route which included crossing the Continental Divide and some off-trail travel through steep talus slopes. Potential travel areas include Lake Verna, Mount Alice, Chiefs Head Peak, Black Lake, Mills Lake and Flattop Mountain, park officials said.

RMNP said Pallansch had not attempted this route before but is an experienced trail runner and has run numerous routes in the park, including Longs Peak more than 30 times.

missing Chad Pallansch.jpg

Local News

Search underway for missing Fort Collins man in Rocky Mountain National Park

Sydney Isenberg
7:11 PM, Sep 29, 2023

Several agencies, including Larimer County Search and Rescue, Grand County Search and Rescue and Front Range Rescue Dogs, are assisting the RMNP Search and Rescue Team. The teams are using ground crews, dog teams and air reconnaissance in order to locate Pallansch.

On Saturday, 77 individuals were involved in search efforts, including 62 team members in the field.

RMNP officials said weather at high elevations, such as snow, ice and wind, has hampered ground search efforts. Weather and resources permitting, ground crews and dog teams will be flown to different locations to continue the search.

Park officials are closing the area from Mount Alice to McHenry's Peak, including Black Lake and Lion Lake 1, Lion Lake 2 and Snowbank Lake, beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday to "limit scent distractions and assist the effectiveness of the dog teams."

RMNP Pallansch Search Area Closure 10.5.2023

Pallansch is 5 feet 7 inches tall and 155 pounds with brown hair and blue runner. He is described as a fit runner with both trail running and marathon experience. RMNP officials said he is likely wearing a black ultralight jacket, black running shorts or leggings and a gray fanny pack. He was carrying a personal navigation device, but it was not designed for emergency assistance, according to park officials.

Anyone who has information about Pallansch's whereabouts is asked to call or text the National Park Service Investigative Services Bureau tip line at 888-653-0009. Tipsters can also make a report online or email nps_isb@nps.gov.


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