Update: West Seattleite Karen Sykes missing on Mount Rainier

June 20, 2014 at 10:27 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 31 Comments

10:27 AM: A photographer and writer from West Seattle is missing on Mount Rainier. If you don’t know Karen Sykes in person or by name, you might know her by her Flickr handle, under which we have run dozens of her photos here on WSB – old desolate.” Her friend Don Geyer e-mailed to say that today is the second day of a search-and-rescue operation for Karen; he says she “was separated from her hiking partner while hiking to Owyhigh Lakes on Wednesday.” According to Don, King County Search and Rescue, “along with other agencies, had 35 SAR personnel searching for her, with the help of dogs and two helicopters. (More search info is in this Tacoma News-Tribune report.) They resumed the search this morning at 8:00 am.” Karen is an experienced hiker who has written books including “Hidden Hikes of Western Washington” and also wrote a weekly hiking column for the Seattle P-I; this June 2004 column was about the area where she is being sought.

3:55 PM: The News-Tribune reports that searchers are still at work but are under orders to stop for the night by 9:30 pm.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Searchers are out again today, report our partners at The Seattle Times.

31 Comments

  1. When I first moved to Seattle, I chose all my hikes from Karen’s weekly column in the PI. I hope she’s OK.

    Comment by Greg — 11:40 am June 20, 2014 #

  2. oh goodness, I hope everything turns out ok. I’ll keep thinking positive thoughts.

    (I don’t know her, but I have seen her photos here on WSB)

    Comment by sam-c — 11:46 am June 20, 2014 #

  3. I don’t know her but do admire her photos. Will be thinking good thoughts too.

    Comment by Lauri — 12:29 pm June 20, 2014 #

  4. Sending out positive thoughts that Karen is found safe.

    .

    I don’t know her either, but appreciated her pics, and like her Handle of “Old Desolate”

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 12:35 pm June 20, 2014 #

  5. Oh man, this is sad news. Especially someone so experienced. I pray they find her safe and sound today!

    Comment by lox — 12:38 pm June 20, 2014 #

  6. Oh no, hope she is ok.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 1:49 pm June 20, 2014 #

  7. hope she is found safe and sound. i enjoy her sweet little observant photos.

    i don’t know her but have been reading her so long…

    Comment by westseattledood — 2:06 pm June 20, 2014 #

  8. I really enjoy her photos. Hopeful she’ll be found safe and sound soon.

    Comment by biankat — 2:39 pm June 20, 2014 #

  9. This is my mother. I’m preparing to travel to Seattle. I’m very concerned to say the least.

    Comment by Annette Shirey — 6:11 pm June 20, 2014 #

  10. I wish the best for her — at least the weather is temperate and mild as it can be for the search.

    Comment by JayDee — 6:27 pm June 20, 2014 #

  11. Hope she’s safe and coming home soon, thoughts are with you all Annette.

    Comment by Jason — 7:58 pm June 20, 2014 #

  12. hopefully she finds people or they find her soon, her experience will be a big help in a time like this.

    Comment by Mike — 9:03 pm June 20, 2014 #

  13. Hope and prayers that she gets out alive.

    Comment by David — 10:28 pm June 20, 2014 #

  14. Keeping Ms. Sykes and her family in our thoughts and prayers and envisioning a safe and happy ending to this situation.

    Comment by Enviromaven — 12:00 am June 21, 2014 #

  15. Oh dear. I enjoyed reading her columns in the PI so much. I hope she is found soon.

    Comment by Anne — 6:16 am June 21, 2014 #

  16. Annette, Bill is your Mom’s cousin in CA and we are looking for info on Karen. Your aunt Gwen phoned last night with the news she was missing. You and she are in our hearts.

    Comment by Bill and Teri — 1:22 pm June 21, 2014 #

  17. nwhikers.net has an ongoing thread about this in their “trail talk” forum. People their often get news before the major news outlets.

    Comment by alison — 1:37 pm June 21, 2014 #

  18. Thanks, Alison, I’ve been following that since yesterday. I should link it here.

    Comment by WSB — 1:45 pm June 21, 2014 #

  19. Search has been suspended as of 3:30 p.m. Saturday. No other details released.

    Comment by Madeline Hoover — 5:13 pm June 21, 2014 #

  20. Search has been suspended as of 3:30 p.m. Saturday. No other details have been released.

    Comment by Maddy — 5:15 pm June 21, 2014 #

  21. According to nwhikers.net: Karen’s daughter, Annette, posted on her FB page that Karen was found dead.

    Comment by Maddy — 5:19 pm June 21, 2014 #

  22. I just read that. Looking for the page.

    Comment by WSB — 5:26 pm June 21, 2014 #

  23. Oh no.

    Godspeed to her family and friends.

    Her earlier works inspired and instructed so many of us back in the day on getting out and experiencing and protecting our beautiful mountains and trails.

    A good life’s work. Thank you Karen Sykes.

    Comment by westseattledood — 5:44 pm June 21, 2014 #

  24. I was hoping for a miracle. My condolences to Karen’s family, friends, and fellow hikers.

    Comment by Ann Onymous — 8:32 pm June 21, 2014 #

  25. My good cousin and my lifetime comrade.I will miss her.

    Comment by Ken Dalby — 10:03 pm June 21, 2014 #

  26. My mother’s body was recovered yesterday in Mt Rainier National Forest. I am her only child. My name is Annette Shirey. I woke up early this morning to realize this is the first day of my life I will never talk to or hear from my mother again. I am heart broken. I am travelling to Seattle from Tucson. I don’t know yet if the cause of her death is from a fall or hypothermia. I miss her so much!!

    Comment by Annette Shirey — 6:38 am June 22, 2014 #

  27. Such a tremendous loss. Condolences to her many friends and family.

    Comment by robp — 8:18 am June 22, 2014 #

  28. Annette, please accept our condolences. I only knew your mom through correspondence, when she offered photos for us to use, or shared them to our Flickr group, and we published more than 40 of them, beautiful photos of nature here in West Seattle. The address for her account included the phrase “Karen’s Eyes” and we will miss the view of the natural world she shared through them – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 9:04 am June 22, 2014 #

  29. so sorry to hear this news.

    Comment by sophista-tiki — 10:32 am June 22, 2014 #

  30. Dear Annette, our hearts break with yours.
    We are so sorry to hear this news.

    Comment by Vanessa — 1:52 pm June 23, 2014 #

  31. Annette I am so sorry for your loss. Seattle is a sadder place without her in it. Big Hugs to you and to Bob.
    Laurie

    Comment by Laurence Tryon — 4:11 pm June 23, 2014 #

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