An intensive effort to find a 25-year-old hiker who went missing near Sun Valley has been called off.
The search for Luke Richardson was suspended Tuesday after an eight-day search-and-rescue operation involving numerous agencies, Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey said in a press release Tuesday afternoon.
“Obviously this is not the outcome that we were hoping for, but after eight intensive days of searching we have exhausted our options, and technical and human resources,” Ramsey said in the release. “To this point we have expended almost 2,000 man hours extensively searching 51 aerial square miles, with up to 50 trained SAR personnel in the field at one point.”
Teams searched elevations from 6,500 feet to 11,865 feet, both on foot and with air support. Searchers encountered rain, fog, snow and ice, as well as ridge temperatures of 15 degrees, with sustained winds of 30 mph.
“We feel that we cannot further endanger the safety of our technical teams,” Ramsey said.
Richardson moved to the Wood River Valley last April from Barre, Vermont. He worked as an arborist.
“The mountains are where he found his true strength,” Richardson’s mother, Stephanie, told sheriff’s officials.
Other than trail sightings, there has been no physical clues or indication of Richardson’s location.
Richardson was reported missing Sept. 15, when he failed to show up at work. He was last seen by other hikers at Summit Creek Trail at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 12. His car was parked at the trailhead. His coat, sleeping bag and tent were later found in his home.
Agencies involved in the search included: Blaine County Sheriff’s Office, Blaine County Search and Rescue, Custer County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Wyoming’s Teton County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Butte County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Bonneville County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit, Sun Valley Fire Department, Sawtooth Mountain Guides, Galena Backcountry Patrol, Tri-State K-9, Two Bear Air Rescue, Reeder Flying Services, U.S. Army Air Guard units from Boise and Montana, and Air Force Rescue Central Command.