Weather Challenges Search Efforts Today
Contact: Denise Germann, 406 888 5838
Search efforts continued today for two hikers that were reported missing by family members on Friday. The hikers, 32-year-old Neal Peckens from Virginia and 32-year-old Jason Hiser from Maryland, are believed to have been hiking on the east side of the park near Two Medicine and failed to return to their vehicle and their flight back home to the east coast.
The weather has been quite challenging for the search operation. Search personnel are encountering up to 18 inches of snow on trails, snow drifts, limited visibility and very windy conditions. Aerial operations were limited today due to low visibility and extremely windy conditions.
A recently used fire ring and tracks were identified in the area of the search today. It is believed the evidence may be related to the missing hikers. It is probable that due to winter weather conditions and snow covered trails, the two men may have gone off trail. The fire ring and tracks were found in the Nyack Drainage, on the west side of the Continental Divide and includes some very dense, steep and treacherous terrain.
According to their backcountry permit, Peckens and Hiser were planning to hike from the North Shore Trailhead at Two Medicine on Tuesday, October 9 and camp at the Oldman Backcountry Campground on Tuesday night. It is believed they planned to hike to Pitamakan Pass and along the Continental Divide to Dawson Pass, and back to Two Medicine on Wednesday, October 10. The entire loop, as planned, is approximately 17 miles in length.
Approximately 50 people are involved in the search, including personnel from Glacier National Park and Flathead Country Search and Rescue. Some of the search personnel will remain in the backcountry tonight, while a few will be coming out and resuming the search in the morning.
Peckens is six feet tall and approximately 180 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. Hiser is six feet tall and approximately 200 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. It is believed that Peckens may have a red hooded rain jacket and Hiser may have a blue North Face beanie hat.
Anyone that may have any information or may have been in the area and seen individuals that may meet the descriptions are encouraged to contact the park at 406-888-7805.