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July 14, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Hiker, 64, missing on Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail

Search crews continue to comb the Wonderland Trail on Mount Rainier for a hiker who was reported missing early Sunday morning.

Edwin Birch, 64, of Tacoma, and his son planned a day hike on the 19-mile trail with each hiking the trail from opposite ends and crossing paths in the middle. Birch began his hike at Box Canyon and met up halfway on the trail with his son, who started at White River. The two met near Indian Bar at 6,600 feet around 3:30 p.m.

Birch’s son said his father seemed well, but looked a little tired, according to the National Park Service.

Once Birch’s son reached Box Canyon, he drove to pick up his father at White River. The son notified park rangers at 1:30 a.m. Sunday when his father was nowhere to be found.

Birch had recently lost weight and had a medium level of experience hiking, NPS spokeswoman Fawn Bauer said.

“One of the motivations was to get out there and get healthy,” Bauer said.

Mount Rainier National Park deployed 10 ground searchers and a helicopter from Northwest Helicopters on Sunday morning. The team covered the entire trail and no signs were found of the missing hiker. The Wonderland Trail can be obscured with snow above 6,300 feet and can be patchy at lower elevations, according to NPS officials.

The search continued Monday with 53 searchers from Everett, Tacoma and Olympia Mountain Rescues, along with air support and a rescue dog team.

Comments | More in General news | Topics: Box Canyon, hiker, missing


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