66-Year-Old Hiker Missing Near the Peak of Split Mountain in Sequoia National Park

by Amy Myers

Sequoia National Park officials are still searching for a 66-year-old hiker that went missing while traveling with a group along the Split Mountain route near Red Lake.

Quang Tron Than and the rest of his hiking group planned on summitting Split Mountain in one day. The journey began when he and two others departed from the Red Lake Trail in neighboring Inyo National Forest early in the morning. At around 3:00 p.m., Than waved the rest of his group on while he continued at a slower pace.

According to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, the group traveled along the north slope of the Sequoia National Park mountain. The trek from Red Lake to Split Mountain’s summit is not for beginners. The U.S. Forest Service confirms that the Red Lake Trail, a nearly 14-mile out-and-back, tends to be incredibly steep and doesn’t see regular maintenance. Additionally, AllTrails describes the Split Mountain as an equally challenging trek that only experienced mountaineers should attempt. Split Mountain is the eighth-tallest peak in the California at 14,064 feet.

It is unclear whether Than had previously summitted Split Mountain. However, officials did confirm that the Sequoia National Park hiker had “minimal” equipment on him and did not carry any tools for an overnight stay.

Than was last seen near the peak of Split Mountain on 8/21/2022 between 1500-1600 hours,” Sequoia National Park reported in an Instagram post. “The intended plan was to day-hike to the summit and exit the area. The gear that is seen in the above photo is what Than was carrying. Did not have overnight gear.”

Officials urge anyone with information on the whereabouts of Than or were in the search area during this time to call 559-565-4296.

Sequoia National Park Visitors Say Than Left Gear at Red Lake

The rest of the hiking group returned to their cars at roughly 3:30 Monday morning, according to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office. Apparently, Than had stashed both his jacket and his helmet at Red Lake and had not yet picked it up by the time the group returned to the location. They also did not see any sign of Than on their way back down.

Since receiving word of Than’s disappearance, local search and rescue (SAR) groups have used both ground and aerial tactics to search for the hiker.

Among the areas where SAR team members scoured were the summit, the Tinemaha drainage, the Red Lake drainage, and the lake under Mather Pass.

“There was no evidence of Quang in any of these areas,” the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Unfortunately, the weather and terrain conditions have also posed additional challenges for crews.

“The high elevation of the point last seen and extremely hot weather have been challenging for both helicopter operations and ground searchers,” the report continued.