Daylong search fails to find sign of missing Portland hiker

Kristopher Zitzewitz, 31, has been missing since Sept. 26

By Mark Bowder, Columbian assistant metro editor

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Skamania County officials suspended their search for a missing Portland man Saturday evening after a daylong effort failed to turn up any sign of the man.

Kristopher Zitzewitz, 31, became separated from his hiking partner on Sept. 26 as an unseasonably bad weather system brought record amounts of rain and snow in the mountains.

“We had over 100 people working to locate him today and unfortunately found nothing,” said Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox.

Cox said the searchers used vehicles, motorcycles and K-9 teams in a concerted effort in the Big Lava Beds area approximately 10 miles north of Cook in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Previous efforts included an aerial search on Friday.

“We are very thankful to all of the SAR professionals that have come out to assist us this past week. Their efforts in this extremely rugged and dangerous terrain have been exemplary,” Cox said in a statement released Saturday evening. “We are all very disappointed that we could not provide some closure for the family.”

Cox said the search been suspended this evening pending any further leads.