Search continues for hiker

Staff Writer

Inyo County Search and Rescue (SAR) is on its second day (May 23) of searching for missing hiker Dongying “Cindy” Qiu, a 27-year-old woman from San Marino, Calif. Qiu was part of a three-person hiking group that set out to hike Mt. Whitney on Sunday, May 21, at 2 a.m. After reaching Trail Crest (13,700 feet elevation) at approximately 1 p.m., she decided to head back to the trailhead at Whitney Portal alone. The original report indicated that the other two members of the hiking group went on to ascend Mt. Whitney, but later interviews revealed that one member of the hiking group (a female) turned around earlier in the hike before reaching Trail Crest. The male hiking companion did go on to ascend Mt. Whitney by himself, and when he returned to Whitney Portal around midnight, he was unable to locate Qiu. Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch was notified at approximately 9 a.m. on Monday, May 22, of the missing hiker.

Following a lead from other hikers who believed they saw Qiu (descending the trail alone on Sunday late afternoon), Inyo County Search and Rescue and CHP H-80 out of Apple Valley began a search of the area between Trail Camp and Outpost Camp Monday. A backpack matching the description of Qiu’s was located near Outpost Camp late Monday afternoon. This morning additional teams are actively searching the area. Support for today’s search is provided by Sierra Madre SAR, San Bernardino SAR, China Lake Mountain Rescue Mountain Rescue Group, Inyo SAR and aerial support provided by Army National Guard and CHP H-80.

If anyone has any information that may assist in this search please contact Sheriff’s Dispatch at (760) 878-0383.

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