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Searchers make urgent plea for more help finding missing hiker

Volunteers with the Garrett Bardsley Foundation assist in the search for missing hiker Ray Humpherys on July 21, 2018. (Photo: Dave Cawley, KSL)

KAMAS — About 100 volunteers turned out to assist in the search for missing hiker Ray Humpherys in the Uinta Mountains on Saturday.

Organizers of the search hope many more will do so in the coming days. Members of the Garrett Bardsley Foundation said late Saturday that great need remains for help in finding Humpherys.

Humpherys, 66, was last seen late Wednesday night by family members in the area of Hidden Lake. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office launched a search and rescue effort for him the following day.

The sheriff’s office requested the help of the Bardsley Foundation in organizing the volunteer side of that effort. The volunteer effort began on Saturday.

The first round of volunteers hiked in to the search area and focused on covering ground in a grid pattern. That meant standing in a line and walking slowly through rough terrain, looking for any sign of Humpherys. Members of the Bardsley Foundation tracked the searches with handheld GPS devices.

Volunteer searchers scour an area of the Uinta Mountains for missing hiker Ray Humpherys on July 21, 2018. (Photo: Dave Cawley, KSL)

Sunday’s volunteer search effort will begin at 7 a.m. at the Trial Lake fishing area, just off of SR-150, the Mirror Lake Highway. However, volunteers who are not able to arrive that early in the morning were encouraged to come later in the day.

Search organizers said volunteers should be in good physical shape and should bring photo identification. They also suggested volunteers bring water, snacks and sturdy shoes. The search is occurring in ground strewn with boulders and downed trees. Volunteers should also expect to encounter steep slopes and thick vegetation in some places.

If Humpherys is not located on Sunday, it is likely the search effort will continue on Monday and possibly into the Pioneer Day holiday on Tuesday. The Bardsley Foundation is posting updates on the volunteer search effort to its website, findgarrett.org.

Ray Humpherys’ family told deputies he was an experienced outdoorsman with good knowledge of the Uinta Mountains. At the time of his disappearance, he was wearing a black jacket and vest, a gray shirt, tan or gray pants and a gray ball cap.

The search for Humpherys comes just shy of a year after a major search and rescue effort for another missing hiker in the same area. Melvin Heaps, 74, failed to return from a hike out of the Crystal Lake Trailhead on July 31, 2017.

Missing persons posters for hikers Ray Humpherys and Melvin Heaps are posted side-by-side at the Bald Mountain Trailhead on July 21, 2018. (Photo: Dave Cawley, KSL)

The foundation is run by Kevin Bardsley, whose son Garrett disappeared while on a camping trip in the Cuberant Basin of the Uinta Mountains in 2004. Garrett has never been located.