Missing Glacier National Park Hikers Found Safe, Officials Say
(WEST GLACIER, Mont.) — A pair of hikers missing since at least Friday have been found in Glacier National Park, apparently uninjured, officials said.
Neal Peckens, 32, of Virginia and his college friend, Jason Hiser, 32, of Maryland, were found Monday at approximately 3:30 p.m. MT after earlier searches for them were hampered by a weekend of challenging winter weather, according to a news release on the Glacier National Park website.
The two hikers were reported missing by their families on Friday after they did not board a scheduled flight home from Montana.
“The men are doing well with no injuries,” the park said in announcing the men had been found. “They were flown out of the backcountry and met family members anxiously awaiting their return.”
Additional information on the rescue will be provided Tuesday, officials said.
The friends, who met 10 years ago in veterinary school at Virginia Tech, are experienced hikers, Hiser’s mother, Sandy, told ABC News before learning the men had been found.
“They’re both in very good physical condition,” she said. “They’re both intelligent young men, just lost. We’re hoping for the best.”
Park officials said the two men had a backcountry permit to hike the North Shore Trailhead at Two Medicine on Tuesday. Peckens and Hiser planned to camp overnight and return from the 17-mile loop on Wednesday, and then go on a day hike on Thursday.
Over the weekend, search crews had to battle wintery weather, including up to 18 inches of snow on trails, winds and snow drifts.
Aerial operations were also limited because of wind and low visibility, said Glacier National Park spokesperson Denise Germann.
On Sunday, search personnel found a used fire ring and tracks that they believe may be related to the hikers. The clues were found in Nyack Drainage, an area that contains dense and treacherous terrain, Germann said.
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