• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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Search for missing day hiker on the Panhandle Gap continues

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Date: July 17, 2014
Contact: Casey Broom, Information Officer, 360-569-6701

Search operations for the overdue day hiker, Edwin Birch of Tacoma, WA, continues today with ground crews searching the Frying Pan Creek Drainage Basin, headwaters of the Ohanapacosh River and Indian Bar areas of the Wonderland Trail.Air operations will be searching the Panhandle Gap and Summer Land areas.

Overnight a Customs and Border Patrol Blackhawk out of the Marine Division in Bellingham was used for night air search operations using night vision technology to detect any light source on the ground within the search area. It was reported that no light sources were detected within the search area.

It is anticipated that search operations will scale back tomorrow, with some of the ground teams staying the night out in the field and focusing on search areas that are in the more difficult terrain of the search area.

This section of the Wonderland Trail is snow covered above 6300 feet and patchy at other locations. The park advises that all hikers should come prepared with the ten essentials (http://www.mountaineersbooks.org/Assets/ClientPages/zz_TenEssentials.aspx) , and be prepared for difficult travel this time of year when snow can obscure park trails.


Did You Know?

Artist rendering of the Osceola Mudflow releasing from Mount Rainier.

About 5,600 years ago the summit and northeast face of Mount Rainier fell away in a massive landslide accompanied by volcanic explosions. The Osceola Mudflow, a towering wall of mud and rock, thundered down the White River Valley where it deposited 600' of debris eventually reaching the Puget Sound.