CUSTER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — A helicopter, an airplane, and a dozen searchers on the ground picked over high country terrain for the second day Thursday in an effort to find a hiker descending from two Colorado peaks.
The hiker, identified as 41-year-old Dan Wallick, texted family Wednesday afternoon after summiting the second of two 14,000-foot mountains.
Wallick was reported missing Thursday.
Family friend Sarah Proper told CBS4 that Wallick spent part of his youth in Colorado and is currently stationed with the Air Force in Colorado Springs. He has a wife and two young children.
The Custer County Search and Rescue team describes Wallick as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force and is from Salida.
The Fremont Search and Rescue, Inc. reported steep and technical terrain during Friday’s search. Rain, hail and lightning suspended their mission.
“His father confirmed his car was located at the trailhead,” Proper stated in a social media post. “His descent was back towards Challenger, but it is not known what he did from the saddle on the way down.”
Kit Carson Peak and Challenger Point are side-by-side 14ers often climbed together in one outing. The crest of these peaks and the ridge separating them lies on the Saguache-Custer county line in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Custer County Search And Rescue is leading the operation with the assistance of personnel from Saguache and Fremont counties.
Meredith Nichols, the Emergency Manager for Custer County, told CBS4 that the dozen members of the ground team had separated into five teams, and the state’s Multi-Mission Aircraft was also providing support from above.
If you see Wallick, you’re asked to call Saguache County Sheriff’s Dept. 719-655-2544.
A Colorado man disappeared in late June in the same area. His body was found below the saddle separating Kit Carson and Challenger two days into the search.