Man caught in avalanche remains missing on Granite Mountain

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by KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on April 14, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 15 at 6:09 AM

The U.S. Forest Service has closed the trail to Granite Mountain, where a man identified at 60-year-old Mitch Hungate, remains missing after an avalanche.

The avalanche at Granite Mountain carried three snowshoers about 1,700 feet at more than 50 mph.

Two men emerged from the snow, but Hungate is still missing.

Hungate is described as a generous and adventurous man, a well-known dentist who donated his time and effort everywhere he could.
  
He also loved climbing.  He's completed several ironman triathlons and scaled some of the world's tallest mountains.
  
Hungate's wife and sister are holding vigil.

"All of us stayed up here in the hope against hope that there would be a rescue,” said Hungate’s wife, Marilynn. "I really didn't want to leave him.  I want to me with him until he can be here with us."

"My heart's broken…. Breaking.  I feel him here.  Praying for a miracle,” said Hungate’s sister Cheryl.

At another site, a group of 13 people from Sammamish were hiking to Red Mountain when, at about the 4,800 foot level, an avalanche split the group in two.

One man was partially buried, but was rescued. A woman was rescued after her dog alerted people to her location. She later died and her dog was missing. The border collie/sheltie mix named Blue was found in the Snoqualmie Pass area on Sunday.

The avalanches occurred as heavy snow was falling in the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle.

On Sunday, hiker Curtis Gifford was stopped by the Forest Service as he attempted to head up to Granite Mountain. The weather conditions were too dangerous.

"Right now they're calling it a crime scene because someone's missing," said Gifford.

Search and rescue volunteers hope to resume the search on Tuesday.

 

 

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