At Mount Rainier, the search for West Seattleite Karen Sykes, a prolific hiking writer and nature photographer, is reported to be over. Regional media says it was called off about three hours ago; posts on NWhikers.net pointed to Karen’s daughter Annette Shirey reporting on Facebook that she had been told her mother was found dead. She had commented on WSB last night that she was on her way here after getting word of the search.
No formal confirmation from Mount Rainier yet but KIRO TV’s Chris Legeros tweeted that “the medical examiner is here.” As noted in our first report Friday, Karen was an expert hiker who had written books about hiking and had been an outdoor columnist for multiple publications. We knew her mostly through her photographs – posted to Flickr with the handle “old desolate,” by which she asked to be identified when we published her photos on WSB. She was reported to have been hiking on the east side of Rainier on Wednesday with her partner Bob, with whom she lived in eastern West Seattle, when she went ahead on Wednesday but never returned to rendezvous with him. Search-and-rescue crews have looked on the ground and from the air these past three days. We will add official information when it becomes available.
SUNDAY MORNING: Authorities have reported recovering a body on Rainier and saying the person was female. This morning, Ms. Sykes’s daughter posted this comment on our previous story saying it was her mom.
MONDAY NOTE: The Pierce County Medical Examiner says Ms. Sykes, 70, died of hypothermia.