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Hiker Missing at Lake Ingalls

Posted by Lauren Braden at Oct 25, 2010 01:55 PM |

A woman from Tacoma was day-hiking alone on the Lake Ingalls Saturday, but failed to return. Search crews are racing to find her.

Just as the first winter storm slammed into the Cascades, a hiker went missing from a day hike on Lake Ingalls in the Teanaway area. The hiker, 50-year-old Natalya Manko from Tacoma, left for a solo day hike on the trail to Lake Ingalls on Saturday, but failed to return. Her car was found at the Esmeralda Basin Trailhead, which is now under snow. Search crews mobilized this morning and are now racing to find her.

WTA's office manager, Holly Chambers, is a volunteer with King County Search and Rescue, and was just summoned to join fellow volunteers to assist Kittitas County Search and Rescue. Time is of the essence given the inclement weather and fact that the hiker, though experienced, has no overnight gear with her.

I hope she is found very quickly. If you were hiking on the Esmeralda Basin or Lake Ingalls trails on Saturday and saw Manko, it's possible your information can help searchers. Please call the Kittitas County Sheriff's office at (509) 925-8534.

This incident is a potent reminder that, especially this time of year as storms come in and snow levels drop, you should always pack the 10 Essentials on any hike, including a topographic map, compass, extra food and warm clothing. It's also a very good idea to add an emergency shelter to your pack this time of year. Always let someone know location of the trail you'll be hiking on and when you're expected to return.

Have fun out there hiking, but please be extra careful. See our winter safety tips when planning your winter hikes.

Update 10/26 7:40am: According to KIRO 7, search and rescue crews are resuming their search this morning after near-whiteout conditions halted them last night. Snow is more than waist-deep at Ingalls Pass (6000 ft), and Lake Ingalls sits 400 feet higher than that. Our winter storm warning is in effect until 11am PST today. Please keep Natalya Manko and the many brave volunteers searching for her in your thoughts today.

Update 10/26 2:15pm: Missing hiker Natalya Manko was found alive today. The Ellensburg Daily Record has the story:

Kittitas County Undersheriff Clay Myers said Manko was found three-quarters of a mile below Lake Ingalls and was flown out by helicopter Tuesday afternoon. She was alert and able to walk, and was spotted under a red poncho she was using for shelter.

Bravo and thank you to Search and Rescue volunteers and the Kittitas County sheriff's office who have worked overtime in very inclement weather conditions to locate Natalya. We hope she is warm and home with her friends and family very soon!