Park rangers continue to search for a University of Washington anthropology professor who went missing in Mount Rainier National Park last week.
Sam Dubal, 33, has been missing since he went for a hike a week ago on Oct. 9, on the Mother Mountain Loop out of the Mowich Lake Trailhead, according to Mount Rainier National Park. He was supposed to return Saturday, but was reported missing Monday afternoon.
Dubal is about 5 feet 9 inches tall and 155 pounds, has black hair and a short black beard, and might be wearing a blue jacket, according to a description shared by the park. He joined UW’s Department of Anthropology as an assistant professor in June.
Poor weather kept air crews grounded on Tuesday, the park said in a statement Friday, but 19 park rangers and six mountain rescue volunteers continued the search on foot. Searchers found a “distinctive” water bottle they believe belongs to Dubal, but it didn’t lead to any further discoveries on Tuesday, the park said.
Crews returned to the park Wednesday with better weather allowing a helicopter to join the search, the park said.
On Thursday, another helicopter, 18 rangers and 14 mountain rescue volunteers searched private forest lands outside the park boundaries, but didn’t find any trace of Dubal, the park said.
Friday’s weather deteriorated again, with thick clouds and 50 mph winds that prevented air operations, the park said.
“Searchers intend to take full advantage, tomorrow, of a final day of good weather before another storm forecast for Sunday, with large numbers of people on the ground and hopefully in the air as well,” the statement from the park said.
The primary search area, the park said, has been defined by the 17-mile Mother Mountain Loop trail, though teams have increasingly branched off to explore trails leading higher on Mount Rainier and river drainages leading off the mountain.
Anyone who was hiking in the area and might have information is asked to call the tip line at 360-569-6684.