A U.S. Marine has been reported missing for nearly a week in the backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks reported Monday that 1st Lt. Matthew Kraft has been missing for six days.
The 24-year-old from Washington, Connecticut, had planned to hike the 195-mile Sierra High Route, the park service said, though he is thought to have hiked out of Kearsarge Pass on Feb. 24 with the plan of eventually ending his route near the Twin Lake area near Bridgeport on March 4 or 5.
His father contract authorities March 4 after not hearing from his son.
Kraft’s vehicle was located at the Grays Meadows campground above Independence on March 8.
Kraft is described as 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds. He was commissioned in May 2016 and is a graduate of the Marines Corps’ Infantry Officer Course and Winter Mountain Leaders Course.
Weather conditions have made the search for both ground teams and aerial support challenging, including avalanche activity along the Sierra High Route.
“Snow instability will remain a challenge as search teams attempt to clear portions of the route,” said Sgt. Nate Derr, Inyo Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Coordinator.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Incident Commander Dave Fox added “We know the public is very interested in helping with the ground search effort, but due to the extreme hazards in the search area, we are not requesting any outside units at this time.”
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office’s Search and Rescue team and EAGLE One helicopter are assisting in the search, department spokesman Tony Botti said Monday.