On August 22, 2022, Inyo SAR received a call for a missing hiker at Red Lake/Split Mountain in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, CA. Quang Trong Than and two others left Red Lake trailhead early on August 21 to climb the north slope of Split Mountain; class 2.
At 13,200 feet one party member waited 60-90 minutes for Quang and the other party member. Quang “waved them on” indicating he would either fall behind, wait for them there, or head down. No plan was made. Quang was last seen around 3:00 pm, the other two party members made it back to the car around 3:30 Monday morning.
Quang had stashed a helmet and jacket at Red Lake and had not returned to pick it up, and the other party members did not see him on their descent.
On Monday, August 22, CHP searched using high-powered optics while two SAR members went to the Red Lake trail and interviewed the two other people hiking with Quang.
On August 23 helicopters from Sequoia Kings National Park searched the area with their high-powered optics and found nothing.
On August 24, four Inyo SAR members were inserted via CHP H80; two to the point last seen and two to Red Lake. The two SAR members that were inserted at the higher point glassed the summit, the Tinemaha drainage, the Red Lake drainage, and the lake under Mather Pass. There was no evidence of Quang in any of these areas. The two searched the descent gully, talking with a party of 3 who had gotten “funneled towards the wrong gully” as the two other members in Quang’s party did on their descent. Both parties were able to turn around and find the correct descent. H80 continued to spend the entire day thoroughly covering the area.
On August 27th, update on the search for missing hiker Quang Trong Than: Search and rescue teams at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks continue to work with Inyo National Forest to try to locate Than. In addition to ground teams and dogs, the team is using infrared imaging and drones. Many people have asked for details about the location where Than was last seen. Split Mountain is on the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Kings Canyon National Park. Than and his group accessed the area from roads on the east side of the Sierra, then hiked through Inyo National Forest. Than became separated from his group at the base of the summit. If you hiked in this area on 8/21 or later, please call 559-565-4296.
The two SAR members at Red Lake glassed the area with no evidence of Quang. They also spoke with one hiker coming down early who also mentioned getting “funneled towards the wrong gulley.”
The high elevation of the point last seen and extremely hot weather have been challenging for both helicopter operations and ground searchers. Thank you to California Highway Patrol Inland Division Air Operations, Sequoia/ Kings Canyon National Park, and members of the public who have provided valuable information. If anyone was hiking in the area and has relevant information that can be shared, you are asked to contact Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch at 760-878-0383, option 4.