Remains Discovered
Hiker’s remains discovered on Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail.  Source: Arprice.com

Mount Rainier National Park officials said Tuesday that the human remains discovered on the Wonderland Trail Sunday are likely those of Edwin Birch, 64, from Tacoma, who disappeared over a year ago while hiking a section of the Wonderland Trail with his son. The remains were found by hikers near Frying Pan Glacier.

Remains Discovered
Pan Handle Gap where the remains were found is normally covered in snow all year, but warmer temperatures have caused significant snow loss.  Source: Philarmitage.net

Birch and his son were stage hiking the 93-mile Wonderland Trail at the time of his disappearance. His son reported that they were hiking a 19-mile section from Box Canyon to White River. Birch started at Box Canyon and his son started at the White River trailhead. The two met midway at Indian Bar and then continued their hike in opposite directions. Birch’s son arrived with the car at the White River trailhead around midnight to pick-up his Dad. When Birch had not arrived by 1:30 a.m., park rangers were notified. The subsequent search for Birch lasted a week with no clues to the man’s disappearance found.

Remains Discovered
Hiker’s remains found on Frying Pan Glacier between the Box Canyon and White River trailheads. Source: Bookcoverimgs.com

The mystery seems to have been solved Sunday when day-hikers found the remains. The Pan Handle Gap area where the remains were found is at an elevation of 6,800 feet and is often covered with snow year round. Officials are speculating that warmer than normal temperatures on the mountain this summer may have led to the uncovering of the body. The remains are currently being examined by the Pierce County Medical Examiner.

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