Daniel Anderson, the off-duty Washington State Patrol trooper who went missing this week in the North Cascades, was found alive and in good condition Tuesday night.
More than two dozen volunteers on the ground and helicopter crews scoured rugged terrain in the Cascade Range in their search. Anderson, 46, was found about 9 p.m. in the Miners Creek area, near Darrington, Snohomish County sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said.
“We can't give enough praise to the search and rescue volunteers on this mission who meticulously followed every snowshoe track, every detail to find Dan,” she said. “This is a rugged, treacherous area, and these people risked their lives to find him.”
As of 10 p.m., Anderson was expected to be picked up by another trooper and taken to reunite with his family, Hover said. Rescue crews were expected to hike out and drive home later Tuesday night.
The Washington State Patrol was overjoyed to hear the news, Sgt. JJ Gundermann said. They had been on pins and needles all day and night, he said.
The Snohomish County sheriff's office went out of its way to keep troopers in the loop, Gundermann said. They were incredibly thankful for that.
Above all, they were thankful for all of the rescue crews and volunteers who helped find Anderson, Gundermann said.
“These folks did all this,” he said. “They did it for us and for Dan, and that was so important.”
Snohomish County Search and Rescue and other teams from throughout the region joined the hunt Tuesday afternoon. They were sent out in small teams.
Anderson was trying to hike across the mountains from west to east, with his planned destination Holden Village near Stehekin, Rebecca Hover said.
He hiked with friends for a while but left the group Friday. His signal beacon activated Sunday, indicating some sort of distress.
Friends described him as a fit and experienced outdoorsman who was well equipped for tough conditions.
Searchers on Tuesday followed his snowshoe tracks at the 4,000-foot level for a while near Miners Creek, Hover said. The tracks went back and forth — upstream and downstream.
That suggested he might have been trying to find a place to cross, Hover said. The tracks were believed to be about a day old.
Rescuers made it to the 3,900-foot level where rain had washed out tracks in wet snow. That trail disappeared near a steep ravine that searchers described as rugged, icy and slippery.
A Snohomish County Search and Rescue helicopter spent part of Monday afternoon and much of Tuesday surveying the snowy wilderness.
The meandering tracks followed Tuesday offered visible sign that Anderson was recently mobile. At the same time, the movement made it harder for searchers to locate him.
On Monday, tracks were spotted in a drainage area south of Suiattle Pass, on the west side of the Cascades' crest, Chelan County Sheriff's Office Lt. Kent Sisson said.
Snohomish County officials described the area searched Tuesday as close to where Miners Creek meets the Suiattle Trail.
Harsh weather Sunday likely caused Anderson to abandon his cross-mountain trek and leave the trail, officials said.
“I think the weather system probably created some real complications of where he needed to go,” Sisson said.
Members of the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe and its police department used ATVs to carry ground searchers to the Miners Creek trailhead Monday night, tribal member Michael Wolten said.
Anderson is an ex-Marine and Special Forces soldier who has worked as a trooper in Washington for 20 years. He served on the Arlington City Council from January 2001 to March 2006.
He now makes his home in Marysville with his wife and two sons.
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