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Crews searching for 2 hikers missing in Sierra

Associated Press Modified: October 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm •  Published: October 28, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Rescue teams were back in the mountains Sunday resuming separate searches for two hikers missing in California's Sierra Nevada.

More ground crews were called in and two more helicopters, including a California Highway Patrol helicopter, joined the search for Larry Conn of Pacific Palisades.

The 53-year-old departed on a three-day backpacking trip in Inyo National Forest on Oct. 19 and never emerged from the wilderness.

Conn had planned on hiking through a rugged wilderness area in the mountains of the eastern Sierra, not far from the tiny town of Independence, officials said.

His planned trip included a climb over the Taboose Pass, a trail described as "strenuous" and requiring a climb of more than 6,000 feet, according to the parks service website.

Search crews were focusing their efforts on the pass, an area considered to be a likely camp location, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks spokeswoman Dana Dierkes said.

Conditions continued to be challenging for the search teams, who were working in cold and icy conditions, with up to 18 inches of snow on the ground.

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."

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