SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Rescuers searched separate wilderness areas in California's Sierra Nevada for two missing hikers, while a third hiker was found safe after waiting out a storm in his tent.
In the first of three searches, ground teams and helicopter crews were looking for Larry Conn, who left on a three-day backpacking trip in Inyo National Forest on Oct. 19 and never emerged from the wilderness.
Conn, 53, from Pacific Palisades, started his hike at a trailhead in the Inyo National Forest with plans to travel over Taboose Pass toward the John Muir Trail, finishing his trip on Monday, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks spokeswoman Dana Dierkes said.
The trail up the pass is described as "strenuous" and requires a climb of more than 6,000 feet, according to the parks service website.
Ground crews in the search Saturday hiked through snow of up to 18 inches, and with daytime temperatures in 30s were working in "fairly icy" conditions, Dierkes said.
"It makes for difficult movement," Dierkes said.
Conn is an experienced hiker who's familiar with the region, having hiked the pass earlier this year, according to his partner, Claus Svendsen.
"I'm hopeful that he is working his way towards an exit up there," said Svendsen, 60. "Or he's just hunkered down and waiting for rescue."
Three helicopters from the Air National Guard were also looking for Conn, with more search teams and helicopters expected to join the search.
In a second search in the Sierra, Fresno County teams were looking for Matthew Hansen, 52, a Visalia man who was missing after going on a backpacking trip near Shaver Lake.
The search for Hansen was also taking place in a mountainous area that has also been covered with about a foot of snow on the ground, Fresno County Sheriff's Lt. Bob Miller said.
"We have an idea of the path he would have traveled to get from where we found his vehicle and from where he said he was going to go," Miller said.
Hansen was described as an avid backpacker and was prepared with food and clothing for the trip.
To the north, a search in the Desolation Wilderness, a vast wilderness area southwest of Lake Tahoe came to an end when search crews found a missing hiker safe and in good condition in his tent.
Nathan Sperring, 29, who was reported overdue from a hike on Tuesday, had spent six days in the wilderness, two days longer than he had expected, El Dorado County sheriff's Lt. Tim Becker said.
When Sperring was found Thursday afternoon he had spent the last three days in his tent, waiting out a storm that had passed through the area, Becker said.