Search for missing Irish hiker in Wyoming is narrowed

Park ranger reports seeing a man fitting the description of Cian McLaughlin in park

Cian McLaughlin has not been seen for nearly 10 days. Image: Twitter/Grand Teton National Park

Cian McLaughlin has not been seen for nearly 10 days. Image: Twitter/Grand Teton National Park

 

US park rangers searching for a 27-year-old Dubliner missing in Grand Teton National Park in the state of Wyoming narrowed their search on Thursday following a report of a sighting of a man fitting his description.

Cian McLaughlin, who studied at Dublin Institute of Technology and works as a snowboard instructor at Jackson Hole in the Rocky Mountains, has not been seen for nearly 10 days.

He was last seen by a friend around 2.30pm on June 8th, about a half mile from the Lupine Meadows Trailhead, hiking to an unknown destination.

He was reported missing on Sunday morning by Teton County Sheriff’s Office. His car was later found at the start of a hiking trail in the 310,000-acre park.

The National Park Service, the US government agency leading the search for Mr McLaughlin, said he was last seen in the town of Jackson last Tuesday afternoon.

He failed to report for work in Jackson on Thursday and the local sheriff’s office received a missing-person report late on Saturday night.

In an update on Thursday, the National Park Service said search efforts were continuing but that rangers had received a report of a June 8th sighting of a man fitting Mr McLaughlin’s description from a local climbing guide.

The guide reported seeing the man hiking up the Garnet Canyon trail, above the Garnet Canyon/Surprise Lake junction around 3.45pm on June 8th.

He described him as a solo hiker who had shoulder-length hair and was wearing round glasses, a white shirt, shorts, and a hat. The guide also reported the man as having tattoos on his arms and carrying a bottle of water. The description fits that of Mr McLaughlin.

“Based on this new information, search operations will be adjusted tomorrow to focus more on Garnet Canyon,” said the National Park Service.

The hike to Garnet Canyon in Grand Teton National Park begins from the Lupine Meadows Trailhead, located just south of Jenny Lake.

The trail is described by the National Park Service as “strenuous”. It is an 8.4 mile round trip. The National Park Service also warns that black bears are frequently seen along the trail.

“It’s best to travel in groups of three or more, make a lot of noise, and carry bear spray while hiking in the Tetons,” it says.

The search for Mr McLaughlin includes more than 50 park staff conducting ground search efforts in high probability areas of the backcountry.

Six search and rescue dog teams, members of Teton County Search and Rescue, and the Teton Interagency Helicopter have also been involved.

“As McLaughlin’s plans were unclear, anyone who has been travelling in the Teton backcountry since Tuesday, June 8th, may have seen him,” said the National Parks Service.

“Anyone with information regarding McLaughlin’s whereabouts is asked to contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch.”