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      Search For Missing Hiker, May Be Scaled Down Soon

      Larry Conn | Courtesy: NPS

      Snow, possibly more than a foot on the ground, is hampering efforts to find an overdue backpacker who might be in the high country of Kings Canyon National Park.

      The search for Larry Conn, 53, of Pacific Palisades, California, has been ongoing since Wednesday. Mr. Conn, an experienced backpacker familiar with the area, had started his trek on October 19 and was expected to exit the Taboose Creek Trailhead in the Inyo National Forest on October 22, according to Kings Canyon officials.

      Mr. Conn's intended route was to go over Taboose Pass towards the John Muir Trail in Kings Canyon. His route might also have included Split Mountain and Pinchot Pass, park officials said. The search area is between 10,000 and 12,000 feet in elevation, an area where upwards of 18 inches of snow has accumulated on the ground and overnight lows have tipped into the 20s.

      Ground crews were being aided by three helicopters, including one with thermal imaging technology.

      The backpacker was described as standing 5-foot-10, weighing 160 pounds, and wearing short black hair and goatee flecked with grey.