A Lake Tahoe resident, embarking on his first solo overnight hike, has been located after going missing within Sequoia National Park.
The missing hiker, 76-year-old Bill Roberts, commenced a multi-day trek on August 9 after his family dropped him off at the trailhead of Cottonwood Pass. Roberts’ route was charted along the John Muir Trail, with Bullfrog Lake being his ultimate destination. His family intended to reunite with him there. However, Saturday arrived without any sign of Roberts at the rendezvous point, leading his family to notify authorities about his disappearance.
Roberts’ family had been tracing his journey via a location tracker he carried. The tracker eventually stopped updating, with its final signal registered at the western portion of the Caltech Peak ridgeline.
Roberts disclosed that he lost his Garmin tracker while descending from Caltech Peak, inadvertently straying from his intended path. His navigational errors led him back to the Lake South America Trail, where he crossed paths with another hiker during late morning, at an elevation of approximately 11,500 feet.
This fellow hiker had a functional tracking device, enabling Roberts to reconnect with his family on Monday morning. The power of technology swiftly came into play – within just about 10 minutes, search-and-rescue teams successfully located him.
“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.”