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Climber Missing in Rocky Mountain National Park After Summiting Longs Peak

The Colorado Springs man was reported missing Monday after attempting to summit Longs Peak, one of Colorado's most popular mountains.

missing climber longs peakMissing climber Lucas Macaj and a view of Longs Peak; (photos/NPS)
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Search-and-rescue is looking for a young climber who hasn’t returned from one of Colorado’s most dangerous mountains.

Lucas Macaj, a 23-year-old from Colorado Springs, was reported overdue late Monday night after attempting to summit Longs Peak on Sunday. Park rangers confirmed Tuesday morning that Macaj’s vehicle remained at the Longs Peak trailhead.

The young climber was last heard from around 1 p.m. Sunday when he texted a friend that he was on the mountain’s summit. Officials said shortly after, “significant storms” arrived in the park.

missing climber longs peak 2
Another image of Longs Peak and Macaj; (photos/NPS)

Macaj had started from the Longs Peak trailhead early Sunday morning, planning to summit Longs Peak via the Keyhole Route. He’s likely wearing a dark-colored top, tan or brown pants, khaki-colored boots, and a black backpack, according to a missing person notice from Rocky Mountain National Park.

He may also be wearing a beanie and dark-colored gloves. Officials described Macaj as 5’9”, 155 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.

Search efforts have already used air reconnaissance, including Flight for Life Air Ambulance and aircraft from the State of Colorado Department of Fire Prevention and Control. One fixed-wing aircraft was outfitted with infrared and color sensors, while a helitack crew was also used for helicopter air reconnaissance.

Ground teams and park rangers are also continuing the search.

An Infamously Dangerous Mountain

The Rocky Mountain Journal reported that Longs Peak is one of Colorado’s most dangerous mountains, with 71 fatalities between 1915 and 2021. Spokesperson Kyle Patterson said that one out of every five search-and-rescue operations in Rocky Mountain National Park occur on Longs Peak or Mount Meeker.

While the standard route isn’t technical, it involves narrow ledges and steep exposure that can confuse or overwhelm many climbers. It was briefly closed in 2022 to recover the body of a male climber who died on the mountain.

“We are one of the busiest search-and-rescue operations parks in the National Park Service,” Patterson told National Parks Traveler in 2018. “Last year, we were the third busiest.”

Anyone with information that can help investigators should contact the National Park Services Investigative Services Bureau Tip Line at (888) 653-0009. You can also contact NPS Investigative Services by emailing nps_isb@nps.gov.

“You don’t have to tell us who you are, but please tell us what you know,” park officials said.

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