Josh Hall

Weather still hindering search for missing Boulder County hiker

Despite his dog being found last week, weather conditions have not enabled Boulder County search crews to expand their efforts to locate a missing Arvada hiker.

Josh Hall, 27, started a hike at the Hessie Trailhead near Nederland at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 3, with his dog, Happy, but his family called dispatchers after he failed to return later that day.

Boulder County Sheriff’s Office reported his vehicle was found at the trailhead that night, and searchers checked accessible cabins and mine shafts along the 4th of July Road and along the Devils Thumb Lake Trail below the Diamond Lake cutoff.

The sheriff’s office said the cellphone ping put his phone near the Devil’s Thumb Trail/Diamond Lake cutoff at about noon Feb. 3.

But weather also hindered search efforts, and search crews suspended the search for Hall on Monday.

On Thursday, Happy was found by a passer-by on Peak to Peak Highway south of Ward hungry but alive, renewing the family’s hopes that Hall was also still alive.

But continued harsh weather in the area, including thigh- to chest-deep snow, white-out visibility, avalanche hazards, and winds gusting 30-40 mph, has not allowed rescuers to resume the search.

“We have received a lot of questions and comments about missing hiker Josh Hall’s dog Happy being found (Thursday), and what that means for the search efforts,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post over the weekend. “The short answer is, unfortunately, there are no significant changes to the search plans.

“Based on the location of Josh’s last cell phone ping, the terrain, and the belief that he was attempting to hike to Devil’s Thumb Lake, search crews have narrowed down the highest probability area where we believe Josh is. A search team was able to access the east end of Devils Thumb Lake last Thursday (Feb. 4), but unfortunately, we have not been able to conduct a full search of this high probability area due to the conditions.”

Source Denver Post

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