Crews looking for 2 missing hikers in Sierra

Associated Press Modified: October 28, 2012 at 5:00 am •  Published: October 28, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Rescuers searched separate wilderness areas in California's Sierra Nevada for two missing hikers, while a third hiker was found safe after waiting out a storm in his tent.

In the first of three searches, ground teams and helicopter crews were looking for Larry Conn, who left on a three-day backpacking trip in Inyo National Forest on Oct. 19 and never emerged from the wilderness.

Conn, 53, from Pacific Palisades, started his hike at a trailhead in the Inyo National Forest with plans to travel over Taboose Pass toward the John Muir Trail, finishing his trip on Monday, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks spokeswoman Dana Dierkes said.

The trail up the pass is described as "strenuous" and requires a climb of more than 6,000 feet, according to the parks service website.

Ground crews in the search Saturday hiked through snow of up to 18 inches, and with daytime temperatures in 30s were working in "fairly icy" conditions, Dierkes said.

"It makes for difficult movement," Dierkes said.

Conn is an experienced hiker who's familiar with the region, having hiked the pass earlier this year, according to his partner, Claus Svendsen.

"I'm hopeful that he is working his way towards an exit up there," said Svendsen, 60. "Or he's just hunkered down and waiting for rescue."

Three helicopters from the Air National Guard were also looking for Conn, with more search teams and helicopters expected to join the search.

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