A search was continuing Friday for a missing hiker on the Owyhigh Lakes Trail in Mount Rainier National Park.
The search for the overdue day hiker, who park officials identified as Karen Sykes of Seattle, had ground crews scouring the Owyhigh Lakes area. On Thursday, ground and air searches focused on the length of the eight-mile trail, officials said.
They said Sykes went ahead when she and another h iker reached snow at an altitude of approximately 4,500 at 3 pm. She was reported to park officials as overdue at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Air searches were scheduled for Friday if the weather improves, according to Patti Wold, a parkk spokeswoman. She said the search area is in steep, rugged terrain with snow cover starting between the 4,500 and 6,500-foot levels. Sykes is described as a knowledgeable hiker and had adequate survival gear to be on theh mountain overnight in the event of an emergency.
Wold said safety concerns for Sykes and ground crews include snow bridges, tree wells and steep, wet and slippery terrain. On Thursday, a searcher was injured when he punched through a snow bridge. He was airlifted to safety.
The German Shepherd Search and Rescue of Washington State, King County Explorers, and Everett, Olympic, and Seattle Mountain Rescue personnel are actively involved in the search efforts. An MD-530 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters in Olympia, Washington was used in support of the incident.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident, an injured climber was airlifted off Double Peak near Eastside Trail on Thursday following a search in response to a spot locator beacon. The climber suffered injuries to his leg that prevented him from walking out under his own power, park officials said.