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Updated: Searchers Spot Missing Backpackers On Ledge In Kings Canyon National Park


This map depicts the general area of Kings Canyon National Park where three missing backpackers are thought to be. NPS map.

Searchers looking for three missing backpackers in Kings Canyon National Park spotted a trio of men matching the missing hikers' description perched on a ledge above Roaring River Falls around noon Thursday. Due to their location, rangers were working on a technical rescue to get the three off the ledge.

The group, which was reported missing Monday night, was seen by the park helicopter on a the ledge approximately a quarter-mile from Cedar Grove. Preliminary contact was made with the group from the helicopter, and all appear to be in good physical condition, the park said.

The three were expected to be off the ledge by late Thursday afternoon. At that time positive identification of the three will be made, the park said.

The search effort was launched Tuesday for Jordan Zeman, 25, Jake Zeman, 23, and Lanier Rogers, 25, all of southern California. The trio began their trip from Road’s End in the Cedar Grove area of Kings Canyon last Wednesday with the intention of walking out on Monday. Family reported the backpackers missing around 10 p.m. Monday.


My son is Officer Rogers. He is a very level headed, analytical, responsible man. He received NOTHING but support from fellow officers with San Bernardino Police. He chooses his friends also of strong character. These three men did nothing wrong except get caught in a storm. I could think of many, many things young people could do in their spare time that is irresponsible or shameful. Our families celebrated their safe return yesterday. No, we did not consider the cost of their rescue prior to notifiying park officials; we didn't hesitate when they were late. Even if we were told the cost would be astranomical; we wouldn't hesitate. Paying the cost would be challenging, but these men; who both families considers a blessing; would be well worth any cost. Not everyone can say that about their family members. We are blessed and very grateful of the outpouring support we have received from friends, colleagues, and well wishers. Thank you everyone.

As for the comments about the cost of their search and rescue; I am a government employee; State of California employee. During this time of budgetary crises, I can appreciate citizens looking to reduce costs in our state budget; there are other areas to consider cutting in our budget. Life and safety concerns should not be targeted before examining other less essential area.

I can not believe all of you can only talk about the cost it took to save these 3 men. Thats whats wrong with society today... while these 3 were trying to survive, all you can think about is who is getting paid. I'm soooo happy that they all are ok. I see one of these men every day, and I couldnt imagine what it would be like to know that anything happened to them... i dont care how much it should costs... the lives of those 3 should not have a dollar amount attached to it.

Let's not forget that when they set out on their trip, the weather reports were of nothing but mild weather. It is not their fault they got caught in rain and snow and had to figure out a way to stay alive. I am so grateful for the rescuers and for their safe return!

i just want to take a min and say that theas 3 guys are close friends of mine. im glad they have been found his mother and a lot of friends and i where extremly worried about this. and thank you to everyone that help and cared for my friends.

Just so you'll son, KCNP employee, former KCNP Ranger, spotted the smoke from their fire and called it in to the searchers. He had been out of the Park the day before on work duties and didn't even know about the missing hikers. He made verbal contact with the group in the steep terrain, advised them to remain in place and that rescue help was on the way. It is the third rescue he has been involved with on Roaring River..all while being paid to do other work. Not every hero gets their deserved applause. Glad these guys are safe.

$10,000 is nothing in a rescue, that wouldn't even cover the costs of starting up the helicopters. Generally costs are covered by the county in which the subject went missing. The county has the option of charging the county of residence for the missing person, but this doesn't really happen ever. There have been instances where missing persons have been charged, especially if it wasn't their first time. People's families would call, regardless of the cost. What happens is that uninformed people think that SAR is easy and expect them to be there. I'm glad the boys are OK, really, but they got themselves into a bad situation and made some really bad decisions even in the planning stages of their trek.

Just in case you people are not aware, one of these men is a police officer and a iraq vet..both very under paid jobs.. this man has served us as we are now serving him, remeber what comes around goes around.. humans dont turn their back on other humans in need regardles of the cost.. and by the way most search and rescue members are volunteers and as far as the helicopters and so on we dont charge crooks for the use of a helicopter in a police pursuit.

The big problem with charging for rescues is that you get people who might not consider calling for the rescue if they know they'll be charged. Who's going to call for help from any public service agency if they know they're directly going to be charged for it.

Various fees and resources go into search and rescue funds - like an insurance premium where the costs are spread out with many people who might need them.

Of course New Hampshire apparently tried the "charge the rescued party" route and are getting much deserved criticism. They're trying to charge $25,000, which was the cost because they had to import a helicopter from out of state.

The article notes that some states might charge but have a fairly low cap. If it were only $500 - I wouldn't be phased. Some people might think long and hard if they know they might be charged $10,000.

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