Rescuers are looking for a missing man from Eagle River who left Tuesday morning to hike Crow Pass, a popular hiking trail in the Chugach Mountains.
Gary Fisk, 74, started at the end of the Girdwood Trail at around 8 a.m. on Tuesday and was due to finish his hike by Thursday afternoon, Dean Knapp, an incident commander with the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, said on Saturday.
Search operations began around 4 p.m. Friday. Rescuers were able to send a ski team to Echo Bend, which is about four miles from Eagle River Nature, the end of the trail.
The search continued on Saturday with a State Troopers helicopter dispatched mid-morning, along with a team of 12 people who set out to comb the length of the trail throughout the day.
No clues had been found late Saturday afternoon, but searches would continue on Sunday if necessary, said Matt Green, also incident commander with the Alaska Mountain Group who was helping lead the search.
Rescuers also interviewed other groups who had walked the trail during the same time period, “and there are no recent sightings,” Knapp said.
The Alaska Mountain Rescue Group is working with Alaska State soldiers and state park rangers to locate the missing hiker, who they say was hiking alone, and describes as “bearded and six feet tall,” according to an article posted on social media by the rescue group. .
“He may be wearing a royal blue coat, a black knit beanie, black rain pants, charcoal pants and a bright red shirt,” the post read.
A State Troopers dispatch described Fisk as “an experienced outdoorsman” who “was prepared for a 3-day hike, but weather conditions deteriorated with heavy snow and trees in the area.”
“The conditions are generally described as horrendous,” Knapp said. “We have snow in some places and slush in others, and that certainly could have slowed him down.
Crow Pass is a popular and challenging trail that stretches approximately 21 miles between Girdwood and Eagle River, follows part of the original Iditarod Trail, and is typically completed by hikers in two to three days.
The trail has an elevation gain of approximately 3,290 feet and includes a river crossing.
“A good thing is that (other hikers) reported that the river crossing was easy,” Knapp said.
The crossing is most dangerous in midsummer when the glaciers are melting rapidly, he said.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Alaska State Troopers at (907) 451-5100 or through their new app, AKTips.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.