The search for Air Force Academy cadet candidate Micah Tice has been suspended, Rocky Mountain National Park officials announced Tuesday, citing “very few clues” and “harsh winter conditions.”
Tice’s vehicle was found at the Longs Peak trailhead the afternoon of Nov. 26, and crews began searching in the area the next morning.
The 20-year-old is from Las Vegas and a student at the academy’s preparatory school.
His planned destination and route were unknown, and officials asked anyone with information to call 970-586-1204.
Days later, the national park’s search and rescue team got a lead: A group of park visitors saw Tice between 7:30 and 8 a.m. Nov. 24 in the Battle Mountain area.
The visitors said “the weather was terrible” at the trailhead, and conditions continued to worsen, a national park news release says. “The visitors discouraged Tice to continue to the summit due to his clothing, footwear and weather conditions.”
He was wearing a black sweatshirt, black sweatpants, a black hat, black lightweight gloves, tennis shoes and a light blue backpack.
In seven days, ground and aerial searchers covered about 10 square miles, the release says.
“Very few clues have been discovered during search efforts,” the release says. “Depending on the search area and day, team members have encountered harsh winter conditions including extreme winds, low visibility, bitter wind chills, below freezing temperatures, deep snow and high avalanche danger.”
Many agencies and organizations helped search, including the academy’s Mountaineering Club. Its Colorado Parents’ Club “coordinated efforts from numerous organizations and individuals to donate daily meals for searchers,” the release says.
“Snowfall and high winds in this extreme high mountain terrain make finding clues to Tice’s whereabouts even more difficult,” the release says. “Tice was reportedly wearing black clothing. In the absence of additional clues, active search operations have been suspended. Limited search activities may occur during winter months if conditions allow.”