Searchers find overdue hiker in Olympic National Park

  • Sat May 12th, 2012 2:50pm
  • News

Associated Press

PORT ANGELES — Olympic National Park officials on Saturday found a hiker who had been missing for days in Olympic National Park.

David Snider, 55, was hoisted from a drainage near the Irely Lake Loop trail at about 7:30 a.m. by a King County Sheriff’s Rescue Helicopter.

He was dehydrated, slightly hypothermic and tired, but otherwise appeared in good condition, park officials said. Snider was taken to a local hospital for a more thorough examination.

The hiker from Union was reported overdue on Wednesday morning when he failed to return to work after a planned day hike on the Irely Lake loop trail. He was rescued on Saturday morning.

Snider told park officials he became trapped Wednesday when he tried to loop back to the trailhead via a shortcut. Deep snow on the ridges and steep terrain in the drainage trapped him near the creek.

“The terrain in the Olympic Mountains can be unforgiving,” said Olympic National Park Chief Ranger Colin Smith. “The unexpected can happen, even on a short day hike. We advise all hikers to carry at least the 10 essentials… whenever they are out on the trails.”

Those essentials are extra food and water, a map and compass, a flashlight, extra clothes, sun protection, a fire starter and matches, a knife, and first aid supplies – whenever they are out on the trails.”

Rescue personnel began tracking Snider after a helicopter found his tracks in the snow on Thursday. He was found by a crew in a helicopter with heat sensing equipment.

“Although we were able to locate the hiker’s tracks and identify his general location on Thursday, steep terrain and dense vegetation hindered our ability to find him quickly,” said Olympic National Park Search and Rescue Coordinator Larry Nickey. “We recommend hikers to stay along the ridgelines, if lost, and avoid dropping into creek drainages due to the often steep drop offs associated with the Olympic Mountains. If you find yourself in need of rescue, get into an open area and stay where you are, making yourself as visible as possible.”

Over 40 people were involved in the search.