Mount Rainier National Park officials say a search is under way for a Tacoma man who disappeared Saturday while hiking with his son in the Panhandle Gap area on the Wonderland Trail.
Park officials say Edwin Birch, 64, set out from Box Canyon early Saturday morning after he dropped his son off at White River to hike the same trail in the opposite direction. Both father and son had set a goal to hike the Wonderland Trail in sections, and Saturday’s mission was to hike the section between Box Canyon and White River, roughly 19 miles.
At about 3:30 pm that day, father and son met midway on the trail near Indian Bar at around 6600 feet. The son reported his father seemed well, although he was a bit tired. After arriving at the Box Canyon trailhead around midnight, the son picked up the car and drove to pick up his father at White River. When his father didn’t appear he notified park rangers at White River at 1:30 a.m.
A search was begun at 7 a.m. Sunday, with 10 ground searchers and an MD530 helicopter from Northwest. Helicopters.
On Monday, 53 people, including members from Everett, Tacoma, and Olympia Mountain Rescues, along with an Everett Mountain Rescue dog team were involved in the search, with air support from Northwest Helicopters.
The Wonderland Trail is an approximately 93-mile trail that circumnavigates Mount Rainier.