A missing hiker in Mount Rainier National Park apparently has been found dead, though park officials were awaiting official identification from a coroner.
Crews had been searching the Owyhigh Lakes Trail area on the east side of the mountain since Thursday for Karen Sykes, a Seattle, Washington, woman. She and a friend went for a day hike on Wednesday when they parted at 3 p.m. with the intention to meet back up. When Ms. Sykes failed to return, her friend alerted park authorities about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Ms. Sykes was an outdoor journalist, marathon runner, and considered a knowledgeable, experienced hiker. She had adequate survival gear to overnight in the event of an emergency.
Park officials suspended the search effort Saturday afternoon after they recovered the body of a woman from the search area.
"The identification of the victim will be established by the Pierce County Medical Examiner," park spokeswoman Patti Wold said in a press release. "The victim was discovered off-trail near the eastern branch of Boundary Creek in rough, steep terrain. The area is difficult to access and not commonly traveled."
Seven ground crews and one helicopter were involved in the today’s search. 110 personnel were assigned over the course of the incident including volunteers and staff from North Cascades, Olympic, and Mount Rainier national parks.