Kris, an experienced hiker and outdoors enthusiast, went missing while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016. He was never heard from again.
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- NAME: Kris Fowler
- AGE: 34
- TRAIL NICKNAME: “Sherpa”
ABOUT THE SEARCH.
- AREA GONE MISSING:
- Somewhere between mile 2,200 and 2,660, north of White Pass. Total distance intended to hike: 2,660 Total distance hiked (prior to disappearance): 2,294 Distance remaining on planned hike: 366
- AREAS SEARCHED:
- 100-mile stretch of the trail between White and Snoqualmie passes, where snowfalls left the steep terrain a mix of snow and mud. Areas near Chinook Pass. Search efforts were made by search-and-rescue (SAR) workers and volunteers from Yakima, Kittitas, and Pierce counties. A map of the PCT Trail that Kris Fowler is reported to have gone missing on. He had been able to travel most of this trail successfully, and went missing somewhere north of White Pass, Washington.
- FACTS, ACCORDING TO SOURCES.
- Cell phone provider reported no activity for a week prior to search efforts. The following is listed in an online source, and reflects the personal opinion of a close relative:
- Step-mother: Fowler was described as strong, intelligent and a fast hiker. Fowler was known to map out trails and arrange to have packages sent to him at specific sites where cell phone service was attainable in order to keep in touch with family. Social media arrangement: Facebook post every couple of weeks. He mostly kept to this arrangement.
- “The Wanderer”: Kris was reported to have been carrying the book, “The Wanderer.” Several sources cite that the discovery of this book may lead authorities on a path toward successfully identifying more information regarding Kris’ whereabouts. This information has not been independently verified.
- October 10, 2016 A store clerk at the Kracker Barrel convenience store on White Pass said she saw Fowler on Oct. 10, when he picked up a couple of packages mailed to him. He said he was following the trail to Canada, clerk Terry Stark said. “He left here determined to get to Canada.” About 20 miles west of White Pass, Packwood Inn, manager Kimberly Lamontagne said Fowler was found squatting in a trailer around the same time period. He was wearing sandals and said he was cold, she said. October 11, 2016 Fowler is reported to have worked at the hotel to earn a night’s stay, “which isn’t uncommon for hikers,” according to clerk Terry Stark.
- October 22, 2016. Two hunters say they saw a hiker matching Fowler’s description near Blowout Mountain, 35 miles north of Chinook Pass. Reported by: Yakima County Sheriff’s Office (Sgt. Randy Briscoe). Briscoe believes there is a good chance that hiker was, indeed, Fowler – since Fowler was the last hiker who left White Pass to sign logs along the trail.
- WEATHER MENTIONS IN NEWS ARTICLES. A storm hit the south Cascade Mountains on October 14, bringing up to 2 feet of snow in some areas.
- QUOTES. Jim Matthews, volunteer trail coordinator with the U.S. Forest Service’s Naches Ranger District: Quote Elevations along the trail between White and Chinook passes are above 5,000 feet, a level where snow begins to accumulate, which includes a portion of the Pacific Crest [ Scenic ] Trail (PCT). But the trail isn’t considered difficult through that area and is wide enough that it doesn’t pose a threat of falling off a ridge. Typically, it takes an experienced hiker a day or a day and a half to hike the 28-mile stretch from White Pass to Chinook Pass. About 6 inches of snow has accumulated along that stretch of the trail over the past 24 hours; another volunteer reported knee-high snow on 5,430-foot Chinook Pass.
- 11/1/2020, from information originally posted by Sally Guyton Fowler on 8/29/2019, states the following.
- UPDATE: A small hygiene bag was recently found during an official SAR search, buried in the mud. Very hard to see. This item was found in the laughingwater Creek Trail area near the PCT. We cannot confirm 100% that it belongs to Kris, but we cannot dismiss it either. SAR agrees with us that we can’t rule it out. The bag had to be dug out of the mud. It was in bad shape. It contained toothpaste, a toothbrush, a lighter, a powder in a baggie believed to be Gatorade and a few other items. All items we know Kris had ….and yes… as well as many hikers have. The bag has an orange logo on it of OR for Outdoor Research. (Kris loved Orange). They made this bag in 2015 and quit making it later in 2016. All the items had 2016 exp dates which all line up with what Kris would have had. During the search last weekend, we feel the immediate area around where the bag was found, was thoroughly searched. Officials have been back to the area to search it twice as well. If it is Kris’s bag, we know he made it at least this far. We do have other areas we would like searched this year and we are running out of time, with winter possibly a few weeks away. If you are a skilled hiker, and by that I mean, someone who is self sufficient, can hike long distances safely, take direction, are prepared with an InReach or can track your search with GAIA, can search off trail and go slow to thoroughly search…please let me know if you are willing to help search. We are working on the areas to search next. If we can get a head count that is available this weekend, whether it is more than one day or just one day, we will discuss with those folks the areas and steps to take please. I do not have anyone in place to organize a search group in person like we did last weekend, however, I believe we can coordinate it safely with communication and teamwork. And that is why we need “skilled” hikers. Please feel free to share this post.
We feel we could be getting close. This could be the year, but I cannot express enough… we are running out of time. Thank you for considering to help this weekend or a day soon that works for you. Please reply to this thread or PM me if you are interested and what days or day works for you. I have currently had two people reply. Perhaps you can ask some fellow hikers and come up with a small group for a day at least. I know it’s a lot to ask. If we can find any more items that may or for sure belong to Kris, we can launch a full SAR search in the area something is found and maybe find Kris this year.
Thank you for your support.
FYI…we had not released this info prior To now, as we were working every possibility to try and confirm or rule out it was Kris’s. There are no fingerprints to get, as those can disappear from older items and we don’t have his fingerprints anyway. DNA is very very unlikely to be present as items were wet. It’s not as easy as TV makes it look. This post is to encourage and invite people that want to search. Trust me…we have tried everything to try and determine if the bag is Kris’s. Thanks