The hiker whose body was found in Mount Rainier National Park over the weekend died of hypothermia, the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office said this afternoon.
Karen Sykes, 70, was reported missing late Wednesday when she failed to meet up with her boyfriend as planned during a day hike in the Owyhigh Lakes area near Mount Rainier. Park officials suspended three-day search efforts on Saturday when they discovered the body of a woman near the eastern branch of Boundary Creek in rough, steep terrain.
Her daughter, Annette Shirey, said today that park officials informed her that they found her mother’s body.
Sykes’ death was an accident, the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled. The secondary cause of death was heart disease.
Sykes was well-known in the Northwest hiking community. She wrote numerous hiking stories for online publications and newspapers, authored a guide book about hikes in Western Washington, and co-wrote another book about hiking among wildflowers. She also wrote a popular trail column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and produced additional stories about Washington treks for The Seattle Times.
Some of Karen Sykes’ writings for The Seattle Times: