by Bruce A. Smith
The search for Yong Chun Kim, 66, a snowshoer missing since Saturday afternoon, continues into its third day on Mount Rainier, park spokesperson Lee Taylor announced today. More than 90 people from a variety of mountain rescue organizations are now involved in the search effort, Ms. Taylor said.
Mr. Kim, a resident of Tacoma, was leading 16 members of a hiking club on a snowshoe hike in the Paradise area Saturday afternoon when he became separated from the group and failed to return. Kim is an experienced snowshoer who was well equipped for a day hike, but was not prepared to an overnight – let alone two – in the elements. He is equipped with a radio, but has not been in contact with his group since mid-afternoon on Saturday.
Ms. Taylor said the search is currently focused on the Stevens Creek drainage, based on tracks discovered late Sunday leading in that direction from near the point where Mr. Kim was last seen.
The search effort is occurring in mountainous terrain at an elevation of 4,000-6,000 feet. The weather has been wintry, with fresh snow each day, low temperatures in the teens, and high winds.
“We are grateful for the assistance we are getting from so many different organizations,” said Park Superintendent Randy King. “Hopefully with their help we will locate Mr. Kim today.”
Organizations participating in the search include National Park Service staff from Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Parks; Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol; German Shepherd Search Dogs; Volcanoes Rescue Team; and Mountain Rescue Units from Tacoma, Seattle, Olympic, Portland, and Central Washington.