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Elusive backpacker still a mystery at Crater Lake

By: The Associated Press
August 6, 2014 Updated: August 6, 2014 at 7:01 pm
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GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Officials at Crater Lake National Park are still wondering what happened to a backpacker who eluded a ranger after scrambling down the caldera wall of the ancient volcano.

They don't want to prosecute the man, they just want to make sure he is OK, spokeswoman Marsha McCabe said Wednesday.

A ranger talked to him Friday north of Discovery Point, McCabe said. The hiker gave a name that proved to be false, and he said he once lived in Bend.

A short time later the ranger saw him scrambling down the caldera wall, which towers over the lake. The ranger went after him but lost him in the trees.

Searchers later came up with only a pair of sunglasses.

The hiker apparently continued along the Pacific Crest Trail. His description was posted to the trail Facebook page, along with a plea for information. He was described as a white man about 40 years old, about 5-foot-10, 150 pounds, with long dirty blond hair and a full beard. One arm had a sleeve tattoo. He was wearing a black knee brace on one leg and an elastic bandage from the knee to the angle on the other. He was carrying a blue backpack.

Meanwhile, there continues to be no trace of a man who disappeared last April after renting snowshoes and hiking to the edge of the caldera wall.

McCabe says searchers used boats last June to look along the shoreline below the point where snowshoe tracks disappeared at the edge of a snow cornice, which led searchers to believe he fell down the 1,000-foot caldera wall. Divers descended 80 feet into the lake, but found nothing, not even the snowshoes.

Formed in the remains of an ancient volcano, the bottom of the nation's deepest and clearest lake drops off steeply from the shoreline.

The park has withheld the man's identity.

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