Mt. Rainier search for writer ends when body found

Mt. Rainier search for writer ends when body found

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 21, 2014 at 11:30 p.m.


2 photos

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) — The search for a prominent outdoors writer on Mount Rainier was suspended Saturday when a female's body was recovered, but the remains weren't immediately identified, officials said.

Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold said that the body was recovered about 3 p.m. PDT in the area where teams had been searching for 70-year-old Karen Sykes.

She said that the body of a "deceased female" was found off the trail near Boundary Creek in rough, steep terrain — an area difficult to access and not commonly traveled.

There was no immediate word on the cause of death, and Wold said the medical examiner would determine the person's identity.

Park officials had announced earlier in the day that the search had been suspended but did not elaborate.

Sykes hasn't been seen since she separated from her hiking partner on Wednesday.

She was reportedly working on a story when she and her partner encountered snow about 5,000 feet. Her partner stayed as she went on, with the idea that they'd reconvene, but she never turned up.

The partner, who made it safely back to the trailhead, reported her missing at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Six ground crews, including two dog teams, combed an expanded search area near the Owyhigh Lakes Trail on Rainier's east side Saturday. Rescuers also searched by air.

Sykes had adequate survival gear to camp overnight in an emergency, Wold said.

Her friends had hoped that searchers would find her safely sheltered.

Safety concerns for Sykes and search crews included snow bridges, tree wells and steep, wet, slippery terrain, Wold said. A searcher was hurt Thursday when he punched through a snow bridge and was airlifted out of the search area.

Sykes is well-known in the Northwest hiking community and has written numerous hiking stories for online publications and newspapers. She is also a photographer and has written a book about hikes in western Washington.

Her disappearance came weeks after six climbers are believed to have fallen to their deaths while attempting to climb a challenging route to the summit of the 14,410-foot peak southeast of Seattle.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos

The Associated Press

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast