A 22-year-old Ketchikan man remains missing on Deer Mountain, and rescue crews pulled back search teams Saturday afternoon after another day of snow and rain.
Saturday marks the fourth day that Justin Nathan has been missing after a Veterans Day hike up the Deer Mountain Trail. He and a friend made it to the top, but Nathan wasn’t able to come back down the trail. His friend left him at the second overlook with some extra clothing and hiked out to get help.
But, Nathan wasn’t at the second overlook when a Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad team hiked up to find him. Volunteers did find footprints in the snow leading off the trail, and teams have been searching in that area daily since Wednesday evening with no luck.
We didn’t find any other clues today,” said Jerry Kiffer of KVRS, speaking at about 3:45 p.m. “No contact, and our crews are on their way back out now.”
Kiffer said the weather conditions have not been favorable. Precipitation has been almost constant, sometimes accompanied by high winds. Kiffer said when the search began on Wednesday, there was a foot of snow at the top of Deer Mountain, which disappeared at about 1,800 feet.
“It’s gotten progressively worse,” he said. “Today, the snow level is down to 700 feet and the accumulation on top is about 14 inches. Down at 1,800 feet, where we had the last sign, it’s getting to be about six to eight inches of snow.”
Kiffer says that the rescue effort has not yet become a recovery, although KVRS members will meet Saturday night to debrief and talk about the next steps.