Hiker missing in Rocky Mountain National Park found dead

Alpine Glow over the Mt Meeker and Longs Peak
The 23-year-old hiker appeared to have taken a significant fall while descending (Image credit: Cavan Images)

A 23-year-old hiker who was reported overdue after hiking Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park has been found dead.

Lucas Macaj, a Colorado Springs resident, set off to hike the Colorado 14er via the Keyhole Route on Sunday morning and texted a friend at around 1 p.m. to say he had reached the summit, but he never returned. Significant storms moved into the area that evening and hampered search and rescue efforts, which began on Monday. 

After four days of intense searching by foot and drone, teams discovered Macaj's body yesterday on Mills Glacier, near the base of Lamb’s Slide above Chasm Lake. According to a news release by the National Parks Service, initial investigations suggest that Majaj took a significant fall, presumably during his descent. An AllTrails map of the trail shows that the standard route circumnavigates the bowl which cradles Chasm Lake.

"Rocky Mountain National Park rangers completed an on-scene investigation and recovery operations took place by helicopter. His body was flown to a landing zone in Rocky Mountain National Park and transferred to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office," states the release.

In October 2023, another man went missing while on a trail run in the same park. Teams searched for Chad Pallansch for two weeks before calling off efforts; he remains missing.

Little stream near Rocky Mountain National Park

Hikers are reminded that winter conditions still exist at high altitude (Image credit: Wayne Boland)

Backcountry safety

Hikers are reminded that winter conditions still exist at high altitude, while hiking 14ers carries its own set of risks. When venturing into the backcountry, it's important to be properly prepared with gear such as crampons and an ice axe, as well as a satellite communicator to call for help if you need to. Learn more in our article on backcountry safety in Colorado.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.