Hiker missing near Snoqualmie Pass

Hiker missing near Snoqualmie Pass

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 20th, 2006, 4:50 pm #1

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hiker missing near Snoqualmie Pass


SNOQULAMIE PASS - King County Sheriff's deputies and other search and rescue teams are looking for a 33-year-old Seattle woman who went missing while hiking in the Snoqualmie Pass area late Saturday night.

Deputies say it was around 2 a.m. when they got a call from the woman's hiking companions saying the woman had gotten lost in the Denny Creek trailhead area.

The weather has been stormy up in the area all day, and conditions on the trail are absolutely miserable, making the search for this missing hiker all the more difficult.

But deputies say the biggest concern right now is the hiker's condition.

"It's cold and wet," says Peter Lindje with the King County Sheriff's office. "Those are the worst conditions for hypothermia. We'd probably be better if it was snowing -- maybe it would be dry. But instead it's been pouring rain, slightly above freezing here."

Deputies strongly doubt that the woman they're looking for was even prepared for an overnight stay in the mountains. She's been missing for more than 24 hours, after the two of her friends realized she took a wrong turn.

"It was a group of three people that went for a hike here at the Denny Creek trail Saturday afternoon," Lindje said. "After lunch, she got tired and decided to head down the trail early and get a head start on these guys, and they left late. They came down to the vehicle, and she wasn't here."

More than 50 people were actively searching the woods Sunday afternoon for the missing hiker. And despite the weather, ,they remain optimistic.

"You start at the last known place where she was... which is, we're real fortunate this time because we have two people that were with her who know exactly where she was last," Lindje said. "We've had searches in the past, where we don't know where to start... but we have a good starting point... we have what we know are her snow shoe tracks... we have some real good areas... we're very confident."

Search and rescue teams are not releasing the woman's name yet, but we know she is from the Seattle area. And we saw some of her family members here at the site Sunday, most visiting from Illinois.

Search and rescue crews plan to call off their search Sunday night, camp out in the woods and continue first thing in the morning.

Hyak Ski and Snowboard Adventure
On the World-Wide-Web since 1997

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 21st, 2006, 6:21 am #2

Monday, November 20, 2006

Missing hiker found safe near Snoqualmie Pass

A woman missing since Saturday in the freezing temperatures of Snoqualmie Pass was found Monday afternoon alive and safe.

"Everyone was very relieved," King County sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart said Monday.

The 31-year-old Seattle woman was spotted by the crew of the sheriff's helicopter, Guardian One, shortly after noon, Urquhart said.

He did not know what sort of condition the woman was in, though she had only been prepared for a day of snowshoeing when she was last seen Saturday afternoon. Whatever her condition, she had the strength after two nights alone on the mountain to wave to the passing sheriff's helicopter.

The crew went lower to confirm her location, but couldn't find anywhere near the woman to land and did not have a rescue winch to pull her up, Urquhart said.

A Navy helicopter from the nearby Whidbey Island Naval Air Station was called to make the rescue, he said.

The Navy helicopter was able to pluck the woman off a mountain and take her immediately to Harborview Medical Center where she arrived at 2:15 p.m., spokeswoman Susan Gregg-Hansen said.

Doctors there gave her fluids, warmed her up and evaluated her for any injuries, Gregg-Hansen said. But upon arrival she was conscious and in satisfactory condition, she said.

"She appears to be very lucky," the spokeswoman said.

The missing woman had been snowshoeing with two men near Hemlock Pass, a few miles from the Denny Creek campground, Urquhart said. About 1 p.m. Saturday, the woman complained of being cold and headed back on her own. Her two friends last saw her on a downhill trail ahead of them. She went out of sight, and they were unable to find her. Searchers believe she took a wrong turn on the trail and became lost.

The woman's two friends searched for several hours before notifying the sheriff's office shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday that their friend was missing.

Scores of searchers from seven local counties joined in hunting for the missing woman. Several of the woman's relatives, mostly from Illinois, arrived at the base camp for the searchers during the effort.

Foul weather, including freezing rain, made the search more difficult Sunday. Rescuers needed to establish a warming hut several miles up the trail because the cold was hampering the search.

Monday broke clear, Urquhart said, allowing Guardian One to join in the search. Rescue teams also used dogs to help them.

The woman was spotted near the Pratt River, he said.

"She had moved quite a distance," he said.

The key to her rescue proved to be the helicopters. It would have taken rescuers several hours to reach her location on foot, Urquhart said.

"We could not have done it without the helicopter," he said. "She'd probably be dead."

Hyak Ski and Snowboard Adventure
On the World-Wide-Web since 1997