Veteran hiker Karen Sykes died on Mt. Rainier due to exposure

By Kyle Johnson,

Officials say that the veteran hiker whose body was discovered on Saturday after several days of searching in Mount Rainier National Park died due to hypothermia.

Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office investigator Karen Barr confirmed the cause of death for Karen Sykes with NBC News, but couldn't elaborate any further on the matter.

According to Weather Underground, temperatures last week dipped down to 40 degrees. The 70-year-old's passing has been classified as an accident.

She went missing last Wednesday while hiking Mt. Rainier with her friend, but they separated when Sykes insisted on continuing along a trail covered in melting snow. Her hiking buddy opted to not go any further and they agreed to meet back at the spot at a future date.

Her friend reported her missing and search and rescue crews fruitlessly combed through the park and on the Owyhigh Lakes Trail for three days before calling off the search on Saturday afternoon.

The National Parks Service wouldn't immediately reveal the reason, but it was later determined that her body was discovered.

Sykes was well-known by the Northwest hiker community and often wrote about hiking in the national park, something she was planning on doing after this hike.



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