Kings Canyon National Park Scales Back Search for Missing Hiker After 10 Days

by Amy Myers

After 10 days of scouring both Kings Canyon National Park and Inyo National Forest, authorities have decided to scale back search efforts for 66-year-old missing hiker Quang Trong Than of Newport Beach, California to a “limited continuous” mode.

Initially, Than disappeared while hiking with a group on August 21 near Split Mountain in Sequoia National Park, not far from neighboring Kings Canyon.

While completing the strenuous route, he told his group to continue forward without him, according to initial reports. When the rest of the hikers completed the journey and returned to their vehicles, they realized Than had not yet returned. They notified authorities, and the search quickly ensued. Since then, the search has expanded to Kings Canyon National Park and Inyo National Forest, which are connected by Generals Highway in the spring and fall.

Unfortunately, though, teams still haven’t found any sign of the 66-year-old man.

“Searchers have utilized a broad range of search techniques, including ground search and rescue, aerial searches via helicopter and unmanned aerial systems, infrared flights, canine search teams, trail containment, and investigations,” Kings Canyon’s latest release revealed. “Despite these efforts, Than’s whereabouts remain unknown. Than’s itinerary was an extremely challenging one and few other hikers were in the area.”

In addition to Inyo National Forest and Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks rescue teams, the California National Guard, Yosemite, Death Valley, and Pinnacles National Parks teams participated in the efforts as well.

Inyo National Forest Follows Kings Canyon National Park’s Lead

According to Sequoia National Park, when Than first disappeared, he didn’t have much gear on him.

“The intended plan was to day-hike to the summit and exit the area,” the park said. “The gear that is seen in the above photo is what Than was carrying. Did not have overnight gear.”

The trek from Red Lake Trail to Split Mountain’s summit is among some of the more difficult mountaineering routes in Sequoia National Park. As it isn’t a maintained hiking trail, it requires a good sense of direction and experience navigating the backcountry without trail markers. The Red Lake Trail, itself, is a 14-mile out-and-back with steep terrain, and Split Mountain reaches more than 14,000 feet in elevation.

Along with the update on Instagram, the Inyo National Forest has posted near-daily developments on search teams’ findings.

On Tuesday, the national forest informed, “Camping continued at Red Lake while searching assignments concluded. Team members reviewed drone footage for clues.”

Staff also pulled out all hikers and campers in the Red Lake area while drones continued to gather footage across the region. Yesterday, Inyo National Forest confirmed that their search, too, will move to “limited continuous” mode.