The search for a missing hiker came to a successful conclusion early Saturday morning when he was hoisted from a drainage near the Irely Lake loop trail by a county sheriff’s office rescue helicopter. David Snider, 55, was dehydrated, slightly hypothermic and tired, but otherwise appeared in good condition. He was transported to a local hospital for further examination.
Snider was reported overdue on Wednesday morning when he failed to return to work after a planned day hike on the trail. He’d begun his day hike on Monday afternoon with the intention of returning that afternoon. When he reached Three Lakes around 9 p.m., he attempted to loop back to the trailhead via a shortcut, but deep snow on the ridges and steep terrain in the drainage trapped him near the creek.
The park began a search for him on Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday, observers in a search helicopter spotted tracks in the snow that led to the drainage near the Irely Lake loop trail. Ground personnel began tracking Snider from that point. A King County heat sensing FLIR helicopter was brought in on Friday night to assist in the search. The helicopter’s crew spotted a light source around midnight and Snider was located with the FLIR about a half hour later. A second helicopter with a hoist was brought in at first light and lifted Snider out.
Over 40 people were involved in the search, including personnel from Olympic National Park and Olympic Mountain Rescue. They were aided by a German shepherd search dog team from Pierce County and personnel searching from the helicopters.