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Search Under Way For Missing Hiker At Mount Rainier National Park


A search continued Friday for an overdue day hiker at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington.

Karen Sykes, of Seattle, Washington, was reported overdue Wednesday night after failing to return from a hike in the Owyhigh Lakes area on the east side of the mountain. Crews spent Thursday searching the eight-mile-long trail corridor on the ground and from the air. According to a park release, the woman had continued on after reaching snow level Wednesday afternoon, while her companion turned back.

Poor weather was delaying an aerial search Friday mroning, though ground teams were out in the are.

"The search area is in steep, rugged terrain with snow cover starting at the 4,500-6,500-foot level," park spokeswoman Patricia Wold said. "Ms. Sykes is a knowledgeable hiker and had adequate survival gear to overnight in the event of an emergency. Current safety concerns for Ms. Sykes and ground crews include snow bridges, tree wells, and steep, wet, and slippery terrain. Yesterday, a searcher sustained an injury caused by punching through a snow bridge. He was air-lifted out of the search area."

A second search, initiated in response to a spot locator beacon, resulted in an air-lift of an injured climber off of Double Peak on Thursday, the spokeswoman said. The climber obtained injuries to his leg that prevented descent under his own mobility.

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