Missing Olympic National Park Climber’s Body Recovered After Extensive Search & Rescue

by Jon D. B.

In a tragic turn of events, the body of 38-year-old Sean Allen was located and recovered Wednesday in Olympic National Park.

Wednesday, July 20 saw the location and recovery of Sean Allen, 38, of Port Angeles, Washington from Olympic National Park. Allen held a wilderness permit for July 16-18 and was traveling solo with an intended route from Royal Basin to Home Lake, NPS cites.

According to the initial missing persons report, Allen’s itinerary included potential climbing attempts at Mount Mystery, Hal Foss Peak, and Little Mystery. On Tuesday, Search & Rescue personnel hiked the wilderness to begin a “hasty search” for Allen. S&R was aided by the National Park Service exclusive-use contract helicopter from North Cascades National Park. Aerial efforts would assist with the search on Tuesday and continue into Wednesday.

Search teams from both Olympic National Park and Olympic Mountain Rescue would first scout the Upper Dungeness Trail and around Royal Basin. Then, late Wednesday afternoon, the National Park Service exclusive-use contract helicopter/North Cascades National Park crew spotted Allen on the southern end of Mount Mystery approaching the Del Monte ridgeline.

Once spotted, a search team was able to be dropped to the ground at Allen’s location. Tragically, Search & Rescue became a recovery operation for Allen’s body, completed at 5:30 PM Wednesday.

The body of Sean Allen was transferred to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. JCCO will determine the date, and cause, of Allen’s death. 

No further details are available at this time.

Olympic National Park Missing Person Report Shows Smiling Face of Late Sean Allen

An avid outdoorsman and avid climber, Sean had let others know of his itinerary ahead of his journey. This is imperative strategy for any solo adventuring, and leads to far quicker search, rescue, or recovery.

As NPS states, “Sean was travelling solo with an intended route from Royal Basin to Home Lake. Potential climbing attempts include Mount Mystery and Little Mystery. Sean was carrying a green Osprey backpack, ice axe and crampons, and using a green Nemo tent. He was wearing a black hat (above).”

Olympic National Park would ask anyone in the area of Royal Basin and the Upper Dungeness Trail on July 16 – 19 to call or text the tip line at 1-888-653-0009.

Please remember, climbing safety is paramount in Olympic. As the park cites, “Climbing the Olympic Mountains is dangerous. Climbers frequently find unstable snow, fractured rock, talus and scree, hurricane-force winds, and rapidly-changing weather.”

In addition, “Emergency help is far away and frequently impossible to contact. Climbers must rely on no one but themselves for help. Cell-phone coverage is rare, and conditions may keep rescuers away for days. Self-sufficiency is still the best (and frequently the only) emergency support.”

But in the end, “Life and death decisions are frequently made at home. Life and death battles are won or lost before the fighting ever starts.”

Be sure to check Olympic National Park’s Climbing Safety before attempting any climb in the park.