UPDATE: Kelly Hall arrived in the area of the Elwha Ranger Station shortly before 10:00 a.m. Monday, safe and well and contacted a park employee.
“We are overjoyed to have this search reach a successful and happy conclusion,” said Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.
Searchers who contributed to the effort include National Park Service employees and volunteers, an aircraft and crew from Washington State Patrol, and volunteers from Olympic Mountain Rescue, Clallam County Search and Rescue and German Shepherd Search Dogs.
A helicopter and tracking dogs have been added to the search efforts for a hiker overdue in Olympic National Park. Authorities say 64-year-old Kelly Hall is three days overdue from his planned six-day, 39 mile hike in the northeast corner of the park. Hall was scheduled to meet family members Thursday. When he didn’t show up, they reported him missing that night.
The second day of searching for 64-year old Kelly Hall of Bainbridge Island continued Sunday, but revealed few clues regarding the missing hiker’s location. Hall was reported overdue Thursday evening after failing to rendezvous with a family member as planned.
Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum renewed her appeal for the public’s assistance. “We are very interested in talking with hikers who were anywhere along Mr. Hall’s itinerary in the past week,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “Anyone who may have information helpful to the search is urged to call the park as soon as possible at 360-565-3120.”
Hall began his hike on Saturday, August 30, setting out from the Obstruction Point Trailhead near Hurricane Ridge. His planned itinerary was a 39-mile hike through Grand Valley to Grand Pass, continuing over Cameron Pass, through Dose Meadows, over Gray Wolf Pass and along the Gray Wolf Trail to the Slab Camp Trailhead on Forest Road 2875. He was reported overdue by a family member on Thursday evening when he did not appear as planned at the trailhead. Another hiking party reported having seen Hall on August 30 in Grand Valley, about four miles from his starting point.
Today’s search activities included:
· Sixteen ground searchers were in the field today, searching both trails and off-trail areas along or near Hall’s intended itinerary. About ten searchers are camped in the wilderness tonight and will resume search efforts Monday morning.
· Three search dog teams joined the search Saturday evening and continued their search today.
· An aerial search by helicopter was conducted this afternoon.
· Investigators attempted to make contact with the approximately 20 other hikers who had wilderness permits for about the same times and locations as Halls’ intended itinerary. One party reported having seen him on August 30 in Grand Valley, about four miles from his starting point.
An aircraft equipped with heat sensing forward-looking infrared (FLIR) equipment will fly over the search area before sunrise Monday morning. Continued ground and helicopter searching will begin shortly after.
Hall is described as being 6’5” tall and weighing 220 pounds. He has a blue backpack with a fishing pole and orange flip-flops strapped to the outside. An earlier description of his tent was inaccurate; Hall is believed to be using a dark gray netting tent with an orange floor and poles. It has a silver rain fly, so may appear either dark gray or silver, depending on whether the rain fly is in use.
Searchers include National Park Service employees and volunteers, and volunteers from Olympic Mountain Rescue, Clallam County Search and Rescue and German Shepherd Search Dogs.