Search For Missing Hiker At Mount Rainier National Park In Day Three

Alternate TextOlympic Mountain Rescue preparing for the search/NPS-Emily Brouwer

Rescuers at Mount Rainier National Park had little to work with Saturday as they resumed the search for a hiker missing since Wednesday.

Park officials said six ground crews, including two with search dogs, were out looking for Karen Sykes, of Seattle, Washington, while aircraft also were being used in the effort on the east side of the park.

Mount Rainier spokeswoman Patti Wold said the area being search is "steep, rugged terrain with snow cover starting at the 4,500-6,500 foot level."

Complicating the search is that crews must deal with snow bridges that could collapse, tree wells that they could fall into, and steep, wet, and slippery terrain. On Thursday a searcher sustained an injury caused by punching through a snow bridge and had to be air-lifted out of thearea.

Ms. Sykes was hiking the Owyhigh Lakes Trail with a partner on Wednesday when they parted at 3 p.m. with the intention to meet back at that location. She went ahead when the party of two encountered snow at approximately 4,500-5,000 feet in elevation, Ms. Wold wrote in a release. "Her partner stayed at the location last seen, as arranged, to wait for her return. When she failed to return to the point last seen and eventually to the trailhead her partner called in an overdue hiker report at 10:30 pm."

Ms. Sykes is an outdoor journalist, marathon runner, and considered a knowledgeable, experienced hiker. She had adequate survival gear to overnight in the event of an emergency.

Operations and the information team are working out of the White River Ranger Station in the northeast segment of the park.