BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — An intense multi-agency search has been in progress in the Sierra High Route in the Central Sierra Nevada for Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant Matthew Kraft.
Kraft is a 24-year-old man from Washington, Connecticut. He is 6 feet 1 inches tall and 185 pounds.
1st Lt. Kraft's planned itinerary was the 195 mile Sierra High Route and is believed to have hiked out of Keasarge Pass on February 24, with a plan of concluding his hike near Twin Lakes by Bridgeport on Mar 4 or March 5.
On March, 4, Kraft's father contacted the Mono County Sheriff's Office after not hearing from his son. This is when the Sheriff's Office began checking trail heads in the Bridgeport area. Cell phone forensics initiated by the Sheriff's Office showed that Kraft's last phone activity was in the Independence area. Inyo County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue began their search on March 5 and on March 8, 1st Lt. Kraft's vehicle was located at the Grays Meadows campground above Independence.
Both aerial and ground search operations have been utilized; however, weather conditions in the Sierra have been a significant challenge. Additionally, both ground teams and aerial support have noted avalanche activity throughout the wilderness, including along the Sierra High Route.
Today the search plan includes air lifting two Inyo County Search and Rescue avalanche experts to the crest of Kearsarge Pass so they can begin to clear the route on the east side and assess avalanche risk for future search operations. On the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks side of the crest work continues to follow-up on possible points of interest and look for any new clues.
For more information about this search please click here.
If you think you might have seen 1st Lt. Kraft or even been in the search area since February 23, please call 888-653-0009 or visit https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1563/submit-a-tip.htm