Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mt Baker

A hiker is missing on Mt Baker.

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. -- The search is on for a missing hiker who told his friends he intended to summit Mount Baker on Saturday.

Co-workers reported Kevin Lafleur, 31, of Lynden missing on Monday after he failed to show up for work. Searchers found his car on Glacier Creek Road at the snowline, which led them to believe he had planned to climb the mountain using the standard route.

Searchers believe Lafleur is still on the mountain. They do not believe he had planned on spending the night outdoors.

On Tuesday Bellingham Mountain Rescue volunteers, along with snowmobile volunteers began searching for Lafleur in the lower Coleman Glacier area. The Skagit Mountain Rescue, meanwhile, was focusing on the east side of the mountain in case Lafleur had gone down to the Baker Lake area.

His friends are looking for him. Lets hope he makes it out well.

Update: May 1 Snow is slowing down searchers.

Friends and co-workers — past and present — described LaFleur as an avid hiker and climber who knew what he was doing when he ventured out.

“He’s very experienced. He’s climbed Mount Baker many times. He’s climbed Mount Rainier. He’s climbed a huge number of the peaks in the area,” said Harlan Kredit, a Lynden Christian High School science teacher and friend.

“He’s extremely knowledgeable about outdoor activities and the outdoors — period,” Kredit said. “He is not a novice in any way, shape or form and is physically very fit.”[...]

LaFleur works at REI in Bellingham. Ray Elliott, store manager, confirmed that LaFleur is an experienced mountaineer.

“We’ll just have to wait, along with everyone else, to see how the search efforts continue,” Elliott said. “We’re concerned about his safety and welfare.”[...]

Those who know LaFleur continue to hope.

“We’re just praying that he’s hunkered down some place, weathering out the conditions,” Kok said. “But who knows?”

Lets hope he is hunkered down and makes it out well.

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