MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. -- Mount Rainier National Park officials announced the search for missing hiker Karen Sykes had been suspended after a female body was found Saturday afternoon.
Sykes, 70, is well-known in the Northwest hiking community and has written numerous hiking stories for online publications and newspapers. She is also a photographer and has written a book about hikes in Western Washington.
Earlier Saturday, park spokeswoman Patti Wold said six ground crews, including two Kittatas County dog teams, were searching an expanded area further out from the Owyhigh Lakes Trail on Rainier's east side. Air operations were also supporting search efforts.
Wold said the woman's body was found in rough, steep terrain — an area difficult to access and not commonly traveled.
There was no immediate word on the cause of death, and Wold said the medical examiner would determine the woman's identity.
Sykes, who was reportedly working on a story, hiked ahead of her partner Wednesday when the two reached snow level at an elevation of about 5,000 feet on the east side of the mountain, Wold said. Her partner stayed as she went on, with the idea that they'd reconvene, but she never turned up.
The partner, who made it safely back to the trailhead, reported her missing at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Sykes had adequate survival gear to camp overnight in an emergency, Wold said.
Safety concerns for Sykes and search crews included snow bridges, tree wells and steep, wet, slippery terrain, Wold said. A searcher was hurt Thursday when he punched through a snow bridge and was airlifted out of the search area.
Her disappearance came weeks after six climbers are believed to have fallen to their deaths while attempting to climb a challenging route to the summit of the 14,410-foot peak southeast of Seattle.
Contributing: Associated Press