SEATTLE – Searchers in the rugged North Cascades of Washington state have found a climbing backpack and a daypack belonging to the son of Hall of Fame boxing promoter Bob Arum, but are still looking for the missing climber.
John Arum, a 49-year-old environmental lawyer in Seattle and an experienced climber, was reported missing Monday after failing to return from a weekend trip to climb Storm King, an 8,515-foot peak about 85 miles northeast of Seattle.
North Cascades National Park spokeswoman Kerry Olson said Thursday a daypack was found at the 8,000-foot level Thursday during an aerial search. She said that on Wednesday a backpack was found by ground searchers about 900 feet below the summit on the mountain's south side.
The daypack was found in an area that suggests it fell because the terrain is too difficult, Olson said. The backpack was along a climbing route, and "it looked as though it was placed there."
She said gear needed for climbing was missing from the pack. Climbers often take only essential gear to lighten their load while attempting a summit.
Twelve searchers were aided Thursday by two helicopters that can detect body heat, she said. On Friday, search dogs will be deployed.
The search for Arum, believed to be by himself, was concentrating on the more difficult terrain on the mountain's north side, Olson said. She said his apparent climbing route follows ridge lines from the south to the final approach on the north flank.
John Arum has been attempting to climb the 100 highest summits in Washington.
Family members told The Associated Press on Wednesday that rangers had found his campsite, but there were indications he had not been there since Saturday.
"We're keeping our fingers crossed," said Bob Arum's son-in-law, Todd duBoef.
Bob Arum learned Tuesday that his eldest son was missing while in Los Angeles, at the start of a three-city media tour to promote Manny Pacquiao's next fight against Antonio Margarito. He left for Seattle that afternoon and connected with park rangers orchestrating the search.
DuBoef took over the rest of the media tour, with stops in New York on Wednesday and Dallas on Thursday. The fight is scheduled for Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Family members said that John Arum had 18 peaks remaining to reach his goal of climbing the 100 highest in Washington. Storm King is ranked No. 51.
AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta in New York contributed to this report.