Snowshoeing might seem like a relatively safe activity in the national parks, but the landscape you're walking across might demand some extra attention. That seems to have been the case in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, where rangers are searching for a snowshoer who likely fell into the crater when a snow cornice he was standing on collapsed.
Park officials were notified on April 30 that a snowshoer who went into the park two days earlier hadn't returned from his outing. The missing person report indicated that the visitor had rented snowshoes from the park concessioner and set off to hike and take photos.
Park rangers immediately searched the Rim Village area and located the missing hiker's vehicle. "Following a lead, search teams responded to an area near the crater rim, and observed snowshoe tracks leading from the trail onto a snow cornice that had collapsed," a park release said. "Extensive search efforts in that area by ground and air have not located the individual. The search has been scaled back, but is ongoing as weather and snow conditions permit. Investigation of the lakeshore by boat will occur once access is possible."
Snow cornices are formed when snow is blown over sharp terrain like the rim of Crater Lake. The snow forms an overhang with no solid ground beneath it for support. Snow cornices are a regular occurrence in the park this time of year, a park release notes, and can collapse without warning. Visitors should use extreme caution and stay away from the edge of the rim at all times.