Search operations for missing hiker Edwin Birch of Tacoma, WA continued with a reduced number of searchers on the ground Friday.
These efforts represented the sixth full operational period of the SAR, and the focus was on high probability locations near the Wonderland Trail, within the Boulder Creek drainage above the Ohanapecosh River. Mount Rainier National Park Search and Rescue staff were assisted by staff from Olympic National Park and Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, and were deployed in two, three person teams. Search activities will be reduced again Saturday, as the park transitions towards a limited continuous search effort.
Birch, who has been missing since Saturday July 12, was reported missing from a day hike along the Wonderland Trail.
This section of the Wonderland Trail is snow covered above 6300 feet and patchy at other locations. The park advises that all hikers should come prepared with the ten essentials (http://www.mountaineersbooks.org/Assets/ClientPages/zz_TenEssentials.aspx), and be prepared for difficult travel this time of year when snow can obscure park trails.