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Search Efforts Continue for Colorado Trail Runner Gone Missing in Rocky Mountain National Park

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Law enforcement is currently engaged in an intensive search effort for a missing 49-year-old trail runner, Chad Pallansch, who ventured into the wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park last week and has not been heard from since. 

Chad Pallansch, hailing from Fort Collins, Colorado, is well-known among his peers as a dedicated and physically fit runner. His passion for trail running and marathon races has garnered him a reputation as an experienced athlete. 

His latest endeavor, however, has left everyone on edge.

On Wednesday, September 27th, Pallansch embarked on what would prove to be a challenging and ambitious journey.

His plan entailed covering a grueling 28-mile route through the challenging terrain of Rocky Mountain National Park, including passage over the Continental Divide. His route included well-established paths but also a significant portion that led through many off-trail regions with steep talus slopes.

Adding to the uncertainty of this situation is that Pallansch had never attempted this particular route before. 

However, Pallansch has extensive experience with trail running, having successfully completed various routes within Rocky Mountain National Park on numerous occasions. He has summited Longs Peak over 30 times in his running career.

Alarm bells rang when Pallansch failed to return from his journey as expected. His friends and family reported his disappearance to the authorities on Thursday, September 28th

This was further substantiated by park staff, who confirmed that his vehicle remained parked at the trailhead where he had initiated his adventure.

The last known contact with Pallansch occurred when he conversed with his wife upon reaching the summit of Mount Alice, which stands at 4,000 meters, around noon on September 28th.

Search and rescue operations were swiftly initiated on September 28th, employing a combination of air surveillance and a ground crew. 

The initial focus was on areas proximate to Mount Alice, which marked the location of Pallansch’s last known communication on the eastern side of the Continental Divide.

As the days progressed, search teams expanded their efforts to encompass the surrounding regions that Pallansch had intended to traverse, including locales like Black Lake, Upper Glacier Gorge, Thunder Lake, and Solitude Lake. 

The rugged terrain and remote locations of these areas have complicated the search, authorities have noted.

The ongoing search for Chad Pallansch is a concerted and exhaustive effort that has mobilized a substantial team comprising 55 individuals, 38 of whom are search team members, as well as aerial surveillance equipped with heat-sensing technology. 

Chad Pallansch is approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing around 155 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. On the day of his disappearance, he was wearing a black ultralight jacket, black running shorts or leggings, and a grey fanny pack.

In their attempt to locate Chad Pallansch and ensure his safe return, park authorities and law enforcement are appealing to the public for any information that may aid in this endeavor.

Your assistance is invaluable if you have seen or heard from Pallansch or were in the areas mentioned above on September 27th. 

Please do not hesitate to contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Bureau Tip Line at 888-653-0009 or send an email to nps_isb@nps.gov.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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