Search suspended for missing hiker after body found on Mount Rainier

by: Chris Legeros Updated:

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MOUNT RAINIER, Wash. —

Search and rescue volunteers pulled out of the White River Ranger Station Saturday afternoon after they found a woman's body near Boundary Creek.  

Patti Wold of the Park Service said, “It’s kind of a cross country area, it’s kind of rough, real steep terrain out there. Not many people go there, it’s just not a commonly traveled area.”

It is the same general area where Seattle hiker and outdoor writer Karen Sykes disappeared Wednesday. The 70-year-old had split up with a friend on the Owyhigh Lakes trail, intending to meet up later, but she never showed.  

The Park Service couldn't confirm the body was Sykes. It said the Pierce County Medical Examiner will have to do that, and determine the cause of death.  

Sykes has a daughter, Annette Shirey. On Shirey’s Facebook page Saturday, a message was posted that read, “My mother was found dead.”  

KIRO 7 interviewed Karen Sykes for a story on hiking in 2005. She was in the Gothic Basin area near Monte Cristo. At that time, Sykes said, “Being out in the mountains is about the only place that life makes sense to me anymore. It keeps me sane.” 

On Friday, a friend praised her passion for the outdoors.  Don Geyer said, “She’s been hiking for over 30 years.  She’s been in the outdoors all her life. She was involved in the Mountaineers, leading climbs and instructing.  It’s all she’s known.”