Cold weather and dropping snow levels are jeopardizing the search for missing University of Washington professor Sam Dubal. He was supposed to complete a backpacking trip on Mount Rainier on Oct. 10, but never returned home.
Dubal's family remains hopeful he is still found alive somewhere on the mountain.
“He has gear with him. He has a tent, he has a rain jacket, he has a sleeping bag, he was ready,” said Dena Dubal, Sam’s sister.
Dubal, an experienced outdoorsman, was on a solo backpacking trip inside Mount Rainier National Park.
“We know that he had a backcountry permit to spend the night at Carbon River Camp and we know that he was planning to do the Mother Mountain loop, yes.” said Ranger Kevin Bacher of the National Park Service.
He was supposed to be back on Saturday, Oct. 10. But he didn't return that weekend, Dubal was reported missing the following Monday. Thursday marked 11 days of searching -- a mission that has included resources from the FBI, Air Force and dozens of experienced hikers.
Nasty weather on Wednesday stopped the search progress and now conditions at higher elevations are only getting worse.
The Dubal family fears the end of the search is near.
“We cannot bear the thought of abandoning him during this survivable period,” Dena said. “We are making a very strong plea to continue, a few more days, at least 72 hours.”
A parks service spokesperson said while the weather is making conditions dangerous for search crews, the mission will be reevaluated Friday.
Meanwhile the family is holding on to hope.
“He is just an amazing and beloved guy who is a wonderful soul that we need here and we cannot abandoned during this critical time,” his sister said.