Friday, December 14, 2018

Recent Search Activities For Micah Tice

Beginning Friday morning, December 7, through Sunday, December 9 search activities for Micah Tice were focused from the Granite Pass area to the northern lower slopes of Longs Peak, including the Wind River and Boulder Brook drainages. On Monday, December 10, due to conducive weather conditions at high elevations on Longs Peak, teams focused their efforts on the Keyhole Route to the summit of Longs Peak as well as the Chasm Lake area, Clark’s Arrow and the Loft. On Tuesday, December 11, searchers again focused efforts in the Wind River drainage.

Searchers continue to experience chest deep snow, thick snow covered forests, and vast areas of dead and down trees, especially in drainages away from snow packed trails. At higher elevations, winds scour the landscape leaving it bare or depositing deep drifted snow. These conditions have existed since the first day of search operations and can cover or erase clues.

On December 4, search managers announced that overall search operations had been suspended and that search activities may occur during winter months if conditions allow. Friday through Tuesday’s search efforts were part of these search activities.

On Monday afternoon, November 26, park rangers were notified that the Air Force Academy was asking for assistance in locating Cadet Candidate Micah Tice, 20, of Las Vegas, Nevada. His vehicle was subsequently located at the Longs Peak Trailhead at approximately 3:30 p.m. on November 26. At sunrise, Tuesday, November 27, active search efforts began in the Longs Peak area of Rocky Mountain National Park for Tice.

Tice was last seen on Saturday, November 24, by other park visitors between 7:30 and 8 a.m. in the Battle Mountain Area. The visitors indicated the weather was terrible at the Longs Peak Trailhead and that visibility and weather conditions continued to worsen. Tice was reported to be wearing a black sweatshirt, black sweatpants, a black hat, black lightweight gloves, tennis shoes and a light blue backpack. The visitors discouraged Tice to continue to the summit due to his clothing, footwear and weather conditions. Micah had apparently not communicated his plans to anyone.

Over a seven day intensive search period, ground and aerial searchers covered an approximate 10 square mile search area. These efforts were focused on sections of the Longs Peak Trail, the East Longs Peak Trail, the Battle Mountain area, Granite Pass, Jim’s Grove, the Boulder Field, Mount Lady Washington, Chasm Lake, Peacock Pool, the Boulder Brook drainage, the Storm Pass Trail, and the Wind River drainage. On Sunday, December 2, the first day conditions were conducive to flying this area, search managers assigned aerial searchers from the Colorado Air National Guard to perform reconnaissance of the entire Keyhole Route to the summit of Longs Peak. They had tried previously on November 27, but were curtailed due to wind gusts over 90 mph on Longs Peak.

Few clues have been discovered during search efforts. 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.

The park has worked closely with the US Air Force Academy since the beginning of this incident, coordinating investigative and operational assistance, and incorporating a team from the Air Force Academy Mountaineering Club in search efforts. The Air Force Academy Colorado Parents’ Club coordinated efforts from numerous organizations and individuals to donate daily meals for searchers.

Also assisting Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members has been Larimer County Search and Rescue, Rocky Mountain Rescue based in Boulder County, Colorado Air National Guard, Alpine Rescue Team, Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol, Colorado Avalanche Information Center, Grand County Search and Rescue, Douglas County Search and Rescue, Colorado Search and Rescue Board, Summit County Rescue Group Dog Team, Front Range Rescue Dogs, and FLIR Systems Inc. who volunteered their services to conduct thermal imaging of the search area.

Micah Tice is still a missing person and our investigation will continue in hopes of gaining further information as to his plans on the day of his disappearance. Park rangers would like to hear from anyone who may have had contact with Micah Tice or have information on his planned route. Please call (970) 586-1204.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Who Established The World's First Hiking Club?

Most writers and historians have credited the Alpine Club of London as being the first mountaineering or “walking club” in the world, and the Alpine Club of Williamstown as being the first hiking club in America. The Alpine Club of London was formed in 1857, during the "Golden Age of Alpinism", for accomplished mountaineers who had successfully climbed a mountain higher than 13,000 feet. Six years later the Alpine Club of Williamstown was founded by Professor Albert Hopkins of Williams College in Massachusetts. Although not widely known, or even properly recognized, the Exploring Circle preceded both of those clubs by several years. The Exploring Circle was founded by Cyrus M. Tracey and three other men from Lynn, Massachusetts in 1850 in order to advance their knowledge of the natural sciences. Although it continued as a very small club, it remained active for more than 30 years. If you would like to learn more about the formation and the significant contributions of these clubs, and many other hiking clubs that formed between the Civil War and World War I, you can read about them in my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, now available on Amazon:

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Appalachian Mountain Club Reviews "Ramble On: A History of Hiking"

Earlier this week the Appalachian Mountain Club published a review of my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking. I want to sincerely thank Priscilla Estes for publishing a glowing and gracious review of the book in the latest edition of Appalachian Footnotes, the quarterly magazine of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Ms. Estes concluded her fairly extensive review by stating: "Doran’s book is a treasure: a well-written, entertaining, knowledgeable, and exactingly researched book on the roots of hiking and hiking clubs, the history of trail-making, the evolution of hiking gear and clothing, and the future of hiking on overcrowded trails. Doran weaves the social, cultural, industrial, and political milieu into this fascinating history. Amusing, astonishing, and sometimes alarming anecdotes, along with photos, footnotes, and an extensive bibliography, make this a fascinating and significant account of the history of hiking."

To read the entire review (on page 6), please click here.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Who Made The First Hike in Recorded History?

Undoubtedly there are scores of unknown people throughout the ages that have walked for pleasure or sport. Although the record is sparse, there are a few examples of individuals who took to the woods and mountains prior to the modern era. In all likelihood, the oldest recorded hike for pleasure was taken during the second century when the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, ascended Mount Etna on the island of Sicily for the simple pleasure of seeing the sunrise from its summit. Hadrian ruled the Roman Empire from 117 to 138 CE, and was considered to be one of the “Five Good Emperors.” During his reign Hadrian travelled to nearly every corner of his sprawling empire. During a return trip from Greece in 125 Hadrian made an apparent impromptu detour to Sicily to make his ascent of the 10,922-foot mountain, which is still among the most active volcanoes in the world.

It would be several centuries before another hike for pleasure was recorded in the annals of history. One reason for this extended gap is that people simply didn't have a need to record their simple acts of walking. More importantly, however, mountains were seen as dangerous and mysterious by most Western cultures prior to the fifteenth-century. People from the Middle Ages widely regarded mountains with fear, awe and disgust. Some men even swore affidavits before magistrates that they saw dragons in the mountains. It wasn't until the Renaissance era that fear of mountains began to slowly subside, and men began venturing into the highlands. If you would like to learn more about the early years of hiking, as well as many other stories associated with the history of hiking as it progressed to become one of the world's most popular activities, you can read them in my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, now available on Amazon:

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Monday, December 10, 2018

Something To Remember: N.E.A.R

You've probably heard dozens of times the old adage that you should remain in place if you were ever to become lost or injured in the wilderness. But does this advice makes sense in every situation? Last week I was watching SOS: How to Survive on the Weather Channel. The host, Creek Stewart, introduced a "test" to determine whether you should remain in place, or take steps to self-evacuate. The "test" asks three simple questions. The answer to these questions could save your life one day:

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Saturday, December 8, 2018

What Was The Firefall Tradition in Yosemite?

In 1871 James McCauley began construction on the Four Mile Trail, a precipitous footpath that still carries hikers from the Yosemite Valley floor to Glacier Point, while gaining more than 3200 feet along the way. McCauley, who was closely associated with the Mountain House, a hotel built atop Glacier Point in 1873, is most famous for initiating the “firefall” tradition, which lasted almost one hundred years. Although there’s some dispute as to why, when and who originated the firefall, McCauley is generally recognized as being the first person to shove fire over the cliff at Glacier Point, likely in 1871 or 1872. During the first several decades the ritual was conducted on an irregular basis, but by the 1920s it had become a nightly feature during the summer months. According to the June 1934 edition of Yosemite Nature Notes, workers gathered red fir bark from fallen trees during the day, sometimes accumulating as much as a quarter of a cord of wood. Around 7:00 p.m. a bonfire was lit, and then at roughly 9:00 p.m., after the pile had been reduced to a mound of red hot coals, the fire tender would slowly shove the glowing embers over the side of the cliff, thus giving the appearance to everyone in the valley below that a solid stream of fire was falling from the precipice. My new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, chronicles some of the other pyro rituals surrounding the "firefall" tradition, as well as the ironic fate of the Mountain House. And yes, the 1970s soft-rock band is named after the ritual. Ramble On is now available on Amazon:

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Mesa Verde National Park 2018 Holiday Open House is December 13

After a summer of dry, hot weather; fires; and smoke-filled skies, we would like to help make new memories at Mesa Verde National Park with our neighbors, our friends, and our local communities. Please join Mesa Verde staff in celebrating our annual Holiday Open House and Luminaria event on Thursday, December 13, 2018 from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm. Attendance to the Holiday Open House is free.

Due to popularity and large crowds, past events posed many challenges; so this year, we are trying something new, and we ask for your help and understanding to make this a successful and memorable night.

This year’s event will feature refreshments at the Far View Terrace and night sky viewing at the Far View Center balcony, weather depending. After spending time in this area, visitors are encouraged to drive the Mesa Top Loop road to view minimally-lit Mesa Top Loop sites and select visible cliff dwellings. Pathways and parking areas will be illuminated by farolitos, but flashlights and/or headlamps are encouraged. The headquarters area, including the Chapin Mesa Museum and Spruce Tree House, will not be lit this year.

Parking is limited along the Mesa Top Loop road. In order for everyone to enjoy the night’s event, please limit your stay at any one location, so others may enjoy the sights. We also request no tripods, as many of the overlooks are small and cannot safely accommodate large numbers of people or equipment at any one time.

Please dress warmly and bring flashlights and/or headlamps and your good cheer! This will be a night to enjoy with family and an opportunity to make new memories of these ancient Pueblo villages and homes.

No park entrance fee will be charged after 5:00 pm on Thursday, December 13, 2018. The Far View Terrace and Far View Center are located 15 miles into the park and the Mesa Top Loop is located 20 miles into the park. All event activities, including those on the Mesa Top Loop, will conclude at 9:00 pm.

A generous thank you to our park partners, Aramark and the Mesa Verde Museum Association, for providing the night’s treats and helping to make the 2018 Holiday Open House a night to remember!

Ramble On: A History of Hiking