76-Year-Old Backpacker Overdue In Sequoia National Park


A California man on his first solo overnight backpack trek was thought to be missing in Sequoia National Park/NPS HO

This article updates the locating of missing hiker Bill Roberts in Sequoia National Park, who is in good health and is being reunited with his family.

Roberts, of Lake Tahoe, was expected to meet his family at Bullfrog Lake in the park on Saturday, a park release said. He was last reported seen on Wednesday when his family dropped him off at the Cottonwood/Trail Pass Trailhead in the Golden Trout Wilderness of Inyo National Forest with the plan to hike north on the John Muir Trail and meet his family at Bullfrog Lake in the wilderness of Sequoia National Park on August 12. Roberts accidentally deviated from his intended route three days ago and missed his planned August 12 meet up.  

The area along Roberts’ route was said to have snow cover in places, and streams were reported to be running unseasonably high and swift. Roberts was carrying a Garmin inReach tracker at the start of his trip, but he lost it while descending the west side of Caltech Peak. He found his way back to the Lake South America Trail and ran into another hiker late this morning, at an elevation of about 11,500 feet. He used their tracking device to contact his family. A park search team located him 10 minutes later.

“This incident really underscores the fact that there is still a lot of snow in the high country and it’s very easy to lose a trail in those conditions, especially with afternoon thunderstorms,” said Incident Commander Dave Fox. “Fortunately, this story had a positive outcome, but we urge everyone to be extra prepared and cautious in your trip planning and execution. The consequences of getting turned around can be deadly serious.”  

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