SAN FRANCISCO — Rescue teams were back in the mountains Sunday resuming separate searches for two hikers missing in California's Sierra Nevada.
More ground crews were called in and two more helicopters, including a California Highway Patrol helicopter, joined the search for Larry Conn of Pacific Palisades.
The 53-year-old departed on a three-day backpacking trip in Inyo National Forest on Oct. 19 and never emerged from the wilderness.
Conn had planned on hiking through a rugged wilderness area in the mountains of the eastern Sierra, not far from the tiny town of Independence, officials said.
His planned trip included a climb over the Taboose Pass, a trail described as "strenuous" and requiring a climb of more than 6,000 feet, according to the parks service website.
Search crews were focusing their efforts on the pass, an area considered to be a likely camp location, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks spokeswoman Dana Dierkes said.
Conditions continued to be challenging for the search teams, who were working in cold and icy conditions, with up to 18 inches of snow on the ground.
Conn is an experienced hiker who's familiar with the region, having hiked the pass earlier this year, according to his partner, Claus Svendsen.
"I'm hopeful that he is working his way towards an exit up there," said Svendsen, 60. "Or he's just hunkered down and waiting for rescue."
In a second search in the Sierra, Fresno County teams continue to look for Matthew Hanson, 52, a Visalia man who was missing after going on a backpacking trip near Shaver Lake.
The search for Hanson was also taking place in a mountainous area that has also been covered with about a foot of snow on the ground, Fresno County Sheriff's Lt. Patrick Hanson said.
The missing hiker Hanson, no relation to the sheriff's lieutenant, was described as an avid backpacker who had left on his trip, prepared with food and clothing, on Oct. 16, with plans to return last Thursday, Lt. Hanson said.
Fresno County authorities on Sunday asked agencies across the state to send personnel and resources to help in the search. Additional help was expected to arrive late Sunday or early Monday.
To the north, a search in the Desolation Wilderness, a vast wilderness area southwest of Lake Tahoe came to an end when search crews found a missing hiker safe and in good condition in his tent.
Nathan Sperring, 29, who was reported overdue from a hike on Tuesday, had spent six days in the wilderness, two days longer than he had expected, El Dorado County sheriff's Lt. Tim Becker said.
When Sperring was found Thursday afternoon he had spent the last three days in his tent, waiting out a storm that had passed through the area, Becker said.