Camp Hale, located near the town of Leadville, was built in 1941-42 and became the mountain home of the 10th Mountain Division and one of the key military training centers for mountain warfare.
Part of the visible legacy of the 10th Mountain Division is a series of mountain huts that provide visitors with a modicum of comfort in the remote high mountains. These huts are popular destinations for skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer. Roughly four straight-line miles north of the town of Vail, Colorado sits the Eiseman Hut. Perched on a high mountain ridge more than 11,000 feet above sea level, the Eiseman Hut usually serves as a hub for back country skiing in the winters, and offers spectacular views of the high peaks of the central Rockie Mountains.
MAP: Topographical map of the Vail to Eiseman Hut area.
MAP: 3D relief schematic of the Vail to Eiseman Hut area.
PHOTOS: Scenic views from the Eiseman Hut
The terrain surrounding the Eiseman Hut is steep and rugged. The Hut itself, although only a few short miles from Interstate 70, is not easily accessible.
On Friday, March 14, 2014 a hike to the Eiseman Hut developed into yet another curious disappearance in Colorado. Gleaned from multiple news reports and official sources I have pieced together a rough timeline of the events of that day.
That morning at about 8:30 AM, Dr. James McGrogan, a 39-year-old emergency room physician from Indiana along with three hiking companions set out on the roughly 9 mile hike to the Eiseman Hut. At about 10:00 AM, still roughly 5 miles from the hut, the group stopped to rest. McGrogan, according to his companions, decided to hike on ahead of the party, and they expected to catch up with him along the way. According to the Eagle County Sheriff's office McGrogan was well equipped, with
"...a large pack with food, water, basic medical supplies, a sleeping bag, avalanche beacon, GPS and warm clothing."
McGrogan has not been seen since that parting of the ways. When the rest of the group reached the Eiseman Hut it was late afternoon and there was no indication that McGrogan had reached the hut. By 5:30 PM they had notified the Eagle Valley Sheriff's Department and a Search-and-Rescue operation was underway. Over the next three days, teams of searchers on foot, snowmobile and helicopters from the National Guard's High Altitude Aviation Training Site (HAATS), based in nearby Gypsum, Colorado scoured the vicinity. McGrogan was not found.
By Tuesday, March 18, 2014 another round of winter weather moved into the area, forcing suspension of the search efforts. There have been no public updates from the Sheriff's office since then and no updates in the local news media.
VIDEO: ABC News 7- Denver report from 3/18/2014
There are two main routes from the Vail area to the Eiseman Hut. One is via Spraddle Creek. A more westerly route is via Red Sandstone Creek. It is not reported in the Sheriff's press release or in any of the subsequent news reports which of these two routes was taken by the group.
Anyone with information that might help solve the curious disappearance of James McGrogan is encouraged to call the Eagle County Sheriff's Office at (970) 328-8500 or Eagle County Crime Stoppers at 970-328-7007, 1-800-972-TIPS, submit your tip online at www.tipsubmit.com, or text a tip from your cell phone by texting STOPCRIME plus your message to CRIMES (274637).
Denver Post 3/16/14- Eagle County authorities search for man missing on hut trip
NWI.com (Duneland) 3/17/14- Chesterton man missing on hiking trip in Colorado
WSBT 22 CBS 3/17/14- Search for missing doctor
South Bend Tribune 3/17/14- Mishawaka doctor missing in Colorado
Fox 31 Denver 3/17/14- Search for missing Eagle County hiker resumes Monday with no success
WSBT 22 CBS 3/17/14- Search continues for missing Colorado hiker
Vail Daily 3/18/14- Severe weather hampers Vail-area search for missing man
|Google Earth view of the mountainous terrain just north of Vail, CO, showing the location of the Eiseman Hut|