Kentucky Backpacker Missing in Montana's Glacier National Park

Searchers on Friday found no sign of a 27-year-old Kentucky man who was four days overdue from a lengthy backcountry hike in Glacier National Park.

Park officials say Yi-Jien Hwa was last seen at the St. Mary Visitor Center on Aug. 11, the first day of a hike that he planned to end Monday at Kintla Lake. His car was found in the Logan Pass Visitor Center parking lot. He was believed to be hiking alone.

Park spokeswoman Norma Sosa said improved weather Friday allowed one helicopter to join the search.

The incident commander said the flight "gave them a better grasp of the areas" Hwa intended to hike, Sosa said.

Searchers check back with park officials every two hours and none had reported finding any sign of Hwa by mid-afternoon Friday, Sosa said.

Hwa's family notified park officials Tuesday night that they had not heard from him since the first day of the hike, and he had not contacted them as agreed at the day he expected to end his hike.

Tina Puge, a spokeswoman at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., said Hwa is a master's student as Asbury and lives in Lexington, Ky. She said Hwa's wife was traveling to Montana.

Sosa said Hwa's permit said he planned to cover 96 miles on his hike, with an increase of 15,000 feet in elevation and a similar descent over the course of the hike.

"It was quite an arduous trip," Sosa said.

Hwa's backcountry permit, like many given out by the park, advised him to watch for bears and mountain lions and warned him that hypothermia and giardia were possible concerns. It also said that a solo hike was not recommended.

Hwa is 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs about 170 pounds. He is believed to be carrying a blue Kelty backpack and trekking poles, along with other equipment, and might be wearing dark-colored clothing.

Park officials ask anyone with information to call Glacier National Park at 406-888-7801.