Entries in Hiker (10)


Man Missing in Alaska Wilderness Since September

Siri Stafford/Thinkstock(THREE RIVERS, Wis.) -- Alaska state troopers are currently searching for a 31-year-old man who set out alone on the last leg of a three-month trip into the Alaska wilderness and has not been heard from in almost two months.

When Thomas Seibold of Three Rivers, Wis., journeyed to Alaska in June he planned to put years of survivalist training into practice in the state's frigid backcountry. A native of Germany, Seibold had spent the previous six years teaching and training at Three Rivers' Teaching Drum Outdoor School, a survivalist school that teaches American Indian values along with weather forecasting, shelter building and primitive hunting and gathering techniques. He spent much of his time under the tutelage of the school's founder, Tamarack Song, who described Seibold as a very experienced outdoorsman and a "wandering spirit."

To make the trip to the Arctic frontier, Song told ABC News that Seibold had taken a six-month leave of absence from Teaching Drum Outdoor School.

Seibold began his trip at an Alaska Native fish camp in the southeastern part of the state, and from there traveled north along the Tanana River near Fairbanks, all while living outdoors.

By September, Seibold had traveled to the northwest Alaska village of Ambler. Traveling farther north, Seibold trekked about 30 miles up the Ambler River to the cabin home of a woman Song's contacts had put him in touch with, and her 13-year-old son. Seibold remained with the mother and son until Sept. 27, when he left with the intention, Song said, of hiking farther north to Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.

No one is reported to have seen or heard from Seibold since that late September day. Alaska state police were alerted when Seibold missed a Nov. 11 flight from Kobuk that was supposed to begin his return trip to Wisconsin.

Megan Peters, a spokeswoman for the Alaska state troopers, told ABC News that search and rescue workers had done extensive aerial searches in the unpopulated expanses near where Seibold was last seen. Troopers were concentrating their search near the confluence of the Ambler River and Ulaneak Creek, where they believe Seibold may have built a base camp.

"He could have run into a wild animal," Peters said. "He could also be fine. But not knowing where he intended to go makes the search more difficult."

According to Song, Seibold has camped alone in extreme northern wintertime climates before, but that he "has always been responsible and clear about his intentions" when striking out alone. Song said an unfinished letter Seibold left behind at the cabin indicated he only intended to be gone "for several days."

Those several days have stretched into almost two months, but Song expressed confidence that as long as Seibold's faculties remained intact, he could survive.

"He is well-experienced," Song said. "He's gone on reindeer hunts in Norway's interior. He's a midwinter guide. If he's not injured or delirious, he will stay alive."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rescue of Hiker Trapped by Sandy Caught on Video

ABC News(GATLINBURG, Tenn.) -- A 56-year-old hiker was trapped in the Tennessee mountains for three days by the remnants of Hurricane Sandy.  The storm, having come inland, pounded the Appalachian Trail with record levels of snow.

Steve Ainsworth set out Monday for the final leg of a planned two-thousand-mile trek along the Appalachian Trail, just as Superstorm Sandy approached the Northeast.

On Friday, his rescue was captured on video after he got a strong enough signal on his cellphone to call 911.

“I was absolutely stunned. I had no idea there was going to be that much snow,” said Ainsworth, who was blocked by snow drifts up to five feet high.

With food and water running low and hypothermia setting in, Ainsworth waited for help to arrive.

On Friday, Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant Brad Lund and a team took to the skies by helicopter and were able to trace footprints in the snow for a mile and a half. They led to the general area where Ainsworth had taken shelter.

Braving howling winds and freezing temperatures, trooper Jeff Buchanan was lowered from the helicopter to find the trapped hiker.

“He stuck his head out of his tent and said he’s never been so glad to see anybody in his whole life,” Buchanan said.

Ainsworth, who was in his socks, was pulled on board the helicopter. His rescue was recorded on video by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

After three days in the cold, Ainsworth suffered no injuries but said he was hungry.

The rescue team joked he could buy them steaks, he said.

“As long as I can have the first one,” he told them.

Ainsworth said he was thankful for Sergeant Lund and his team.

“You know, they’ll say, ‘That’s our job. That’s what we’re supposed to do,’” he said, “But I am telling you, that’s more than a job.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


California Hiker Clinging to Cliff for Two Days Rescued Just in Time

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A 64-year-old hiker who became stranded after taking a wrong turn and spent more than two days clinging to a sheer cliff face in California’s Sierra National Forest said his strength was slipping away and that the rescue team came just in time.

Before being rescued on Saturday, Lawrence Bishop had fallen into despair and had begun hallucinating.

“I’ve never been in position to say, you know, ‘How much am I willing to do to stay alive?’” Bishop said Tuesday.  “I basically stayed awake all night and wrote a goodbye letter to my wife and daughter.”

The experienced hiker had gone climbing with friends.  He was separated from them on Thursday, and they reported him missing the next day.

Bishop said he had seen some children on top of Dog Tooth Peak and he climbed it, took photos with them and started down.  As he was working his way down, he slipped, fell backwards and hit his head, he said.  The peak is composed primarily of granite.

The 10,000-foot descent was steep and perilous, and he couldn’t negotiate the smooth, slick granite plates.

“I just basically hoped I had the stamina and determination to bear the pain and hang on,” he said.  “I said, ‘I can’t get down this.’  I found a little hole in the rocks and I planted my butt there and my poles into the granite plates, and I anchored myself and thought, ‘Either I am going to get rescued or I am going to die here.’”

Bishop said he had no water and ate plants to survive.  As the hours lingered on, he attempted to rest.

“Friday, I despaired of anybody seeing me, so I tried to inch down to a spot where I could sleep better, skinned up my left side, my butt and right arm and elbows got torn up,” he added.

After 52 hours into his ordeal, rescuers finally arrived.  By the time they made a mad dash to Bishop, he didn’t think he could hold on much longer.

Neither did his rescuers.  Two of them risked their own lives to sprint several hundred feet up the slick rock.  From there, a helicopter was sent to take him down the mountain.

Bishop now says that even though he thought he would die, he made it for a reason.

“I wasn’t done living yet,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hiker Missing in Desert Could Still Be Alive: Police

Hemera/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- A new air-and-ground search was launched Thursday for the 26-year-old hiker who disappeared in a Southern California desert on Sunday while camping with his family.

Guillermo Pino could have fallen into a mud cave or down a ravine in the "challenging" terrain of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. The park, which is the largest state park in California, covers some 600,000 acres and is filled with mud caves, steep dirt trails and ravines.

Pino was last seen Sunday, around noon, while camping in the park with his family, sheriff's department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said Thursday. Pino was reportedly standing atop a cliff above where his family was standing, and asked them to climb up to him to bring him a pair of shoes. Pino had been exploring a network of dirt tunnels and caves that run through hillsides in the area, and had taken off his shoes and head lamp, according to ABC News affiliate KGTV. The family hiked up to meet Pino with his shoes, but when they arrived, he was not there.

"He was up there just enjoying Easter morning looking at the vista," said Caldwell. "We don't know if he fell into an open part of a cave and is trapped underground or somehow wandered off or if he fell or started exploring a cave and became disoriented."

Caldwell said that because of temperate conditions within the park, there is a chance that Pino could still be alive. Pino's family described him as a fairly experienced hiker with no known medical conditions.

Pino may have been able to find a small amount of drinking water collected in the caves, she said, although there is not much water in the park as a whole.

Helicopters, canines and dozens of volunteers combed the park for a fourth day Thursday, searching the "very difficult" terrain in the park. The area of the park where Pino disappeared is covered in mud caves and ravines, and is colloquially called the "Badlands," according to the sheriff's department.

"The topography is made up of an expansive honeycomb of caves," Caldwell said.

Surrounding counties and the U.S. Border Patrol have lent resources to the search for Pino. He is described as 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, wearing jeans and a red shirt with no shoes. Pino did not have any food or water, nor did he have a flashlight or a cellphone with him when he disappeared, the department said.

Family members and friends of Pino said it was his first time in the park, and he was enjoying the trip.

"We have been there lots of times before, but it was Guillermo's first time," Michelle Pino-Knaak, Pino's sister, told KGTV. "My husband and another walked all over that mountain retracing our steps. We saw his footprints but we couldn't find him."

Hajira Kahn, a member of the group, told KGTV, "We left the cave and saw him at the top, and he said, 'It's so beautiful up here.'"

Pino's sister, reached at the family's home, declined to comment. Other family members are continuing to search Thursday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Snowshoe Hiker Burned Money to Stay Alive

BananaStock/Thinkstock(TACOMA, Wash.) -- A 66-year-old snowshoe hiker who had been missing in the mountains of Washington state for two days said he survived because of the warmth created from burning his own money.

Yong Chun Kim, of Tacoma, Wash., was found by a trio of searchers Monday after he’d spent two nights in freezing temperatures. Even though Kim wasn’t equipped with overnight gear, officials said medics cleared him so that he could skip the hospital and head straight home.

“I feel pretty good,” Kim told ABC affiliate KOMO-TV as he enjoyed a cup of hot coffee at a ranger station late Monday.

Kim survived temperatures reportedly in the teens by using fire starters to burn leaves, socks, even $1 and $5 bills. He  later took cover under a tree during the night.

Kim was reported missing after he fell down a slope and became separated from his group. Kim, who had 12 years of experience as a snowshoer, was leading the group to an area called Paradise, located 5,400 feet in Mount Rainier National Park.

According to a statement released by public information officer Patti Wold, reports from two other parties on the mountain over the past two days were past due, and a limited field search was under way.

A winter storm warning is in effect for the area through Wednesday night, when 24 to 42 inches of new snow is expected to fall.

“Due to weather conditions, it is expected that they are waiting out the weather before attempting their descents to Paradise,” said Wold.

According to National Park spokeswoman Lee Taylor, bad weather had also played a role in Kim’s rescue. The wind-blown snowdrifts and 30 inches of snow in some areas prevented a helicopter rescue, forcing crews to use a Sno-Cat vehicle to reach Kim.

“Searchers had to snowshoe up the river valley to reach him, load him into a kind of a litter that could be slid across the snow, sort of a sled, bring him back down and get him back into the Sno-Cat and bring the Sno-Cat back out to the road,” Taylor said.

Aside from burning dollar bills in his wallet, Kim found comfort in dreaming of his wife, and thoughts of a nice hot sauna helped him through the chilling nights.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Missing Snowshoe Hiker Found Alive on Mount Rainier

Purestock/Getty Images(ASHFORD, Wash.) -- A trio of rescuers found snowshoer Yong Chun Kim alert and conscious on Monday after he went missing Saturday during a hike on Mount Rainier in Washington state.

Kim, 66, was cold but otherwise in stable condition, according to National Park Service spokeswoman Lee Taylor, who added that rescuers were trying to send in a Sno-Cat vehicle to complete the rescue amid weather too harsh for helicopters.

A team of more than 70 people and two teams of rescue dogs earlier had narrowed their search for Kim, of Tacoma, Wash., officials told ABC News.

Kim was leading hikers in the Paradise region of Mount Rainier National Park when he slipped down a steep slope.  Instead of climbing back up to rejoin the group, Kim continued on to meet the group further down the trail. When he did not arrive 30 minutes after he radioed the group to tell them he was on his way, the park service launched a search.

Taylor told ABC News that one of the members of Kim’s group went along on Sunday’s search and took the team to the point where Kim was last seen. One of the searchers also on Sunday noticed snowshoe tracks in an area called Stevens Creek, which was where the rescue team then focused its search.

Rescuers then found Kim in the upper Stevens Creek basin, Taylor said.

The search for Kim was the second one in Mount Rainier Park in less than two weeks.  A manhunt was launched earlier this month to find Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, after he shot and killed park ranger Margaret Anderson on New Year’s Day.

The body of Barnes, an Iraq war veteran, was found the next day; he apparently drowned in a creek after suffering from hypothermia.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hiker, Dog Saved in Dramatic Cliff Rescue

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- The Los Angeles Fire Department has just engineered the dramatic rescue of a hiker and his dog who were trapped on a sheer cliff.

The hiker, reportedly an 18-year-old student, and his dog, Lola, slid off a trail in the Lakeview Terrace area and were trapped 100 feet down the steep hillside around 1 p.m. West Coast time Thursday.

The dog had run after a bottle that was tossed off the cliff, and the hiker followed, according to local reports.

Firefighters first considered a helicopter rescue but feared it was too dangerous. They then switched to a rope rescue, secured the hiker, and got a harness to rescue the terrified dog.

The hiker was lowered to stable ground and was then able to walk down the hill to flat ground. The dog was also unhurt, according to local press reports. The rescue finished in about 90 minutes.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Oregon Hiker Fell 50 Feet, Survived Three Days on Bugs, Berries

ABC News(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- An Oregon hiker who fell 50 feet off a cliff and spent three nights alone in a national forest said that she was unwilling to die after the accident, and ate caterpillars and berries to survive.

An Oregon Army National Guard air search team spotted 28-year-old Pamela Salant and rescued her from the Mount Hood National Forest last week.  Salant had been missing since July 31 after she got lost and fell during a camping trip with her boyfriend.

"I didn't even feel myself landing; I just sort of like waking up and like,  'Whoa what just happened?' and then looking at my leg and then seeing like it was at a bowed kind of angle," Salant told reporters from her bedside on Monday.

She says that after the fall she stayed close to a creek to keep her bearings and have access to water.  While recovering in a hospital she told reporters that her survival instincts kicked in.  Since she was only wearing shorts and a tank top at the time of the accident, she covered herself with moss to stay warm.

"That drive to live was so strong for me, and I just like really felt like I just wasn't done yet," she said.  "I never wanted to give up really, I just was not certain my body could handle it with my broken leg and I was...crawling all over, around waterfalls and on the riverbed, so I was kinda doing some dangerous things."

She said that during her ordeal she attempted to eat a snail-like forest mollusk, which "looked really tasty, but it was not."  She spat it out.

Crawling and scooting because she was unable to walk on her broken leg, Salant moved more than a mile from where she fell along a drainage path in hopes of reaching the Columbia River.

"I just kept pushing through all the pain.  I just wanted to keep going," she said.

Her boyfriend Aric Essig called for help when she didn't return, and volunteers and rescue workers searched for her.  On Monday night, she thanked all of those who aided in her rescue.

"I'm just so thankful that I'm here," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Missing Hiker Found Alive; Expected To Recover

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(PALM SPRINGS, Calif.) -- Edward Rosenthal, a 64-year-old missing Los Angeles real estate broker, was found alive Thursday, six days after leaving for a daylong hike in Joshua Tree National Park.

He was taken to High Desert Medical Center and is expected to recover from heat exhaustion and other minor injuries. 

Authorities don't know how he got so far off course or how he survived the week.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Freed Hiker Pleaded Her Case to Iranian President

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sarah Shourd, the American hiker recently released from Iran after nearly 14 months of detention, says she met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Friday to plead for the release of fellow hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who are still in Iranian custody.

"For me to talk to the president [is] something I prayed for while in prison," Shourd told ABC News outside a New York hotel. "I just want to thank Mr. Ahmadinejad for this gesture of allowing my mother and I to meet with him and for the mothers of Shane and Josh. It was a very gracious gesture and a good meeting."

Shourd did not reveal where she and the others met with the Iranian president, though she said Ahmadinejad seemed much friendlier than his public personna during "a very human encounter, very personal."

"I'm just going to keep pushing every minute for their release on humanitarian grounds," Shourd said. "I feel my case sets a precedent for their release."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio