Watch not Vanek’s; search for missing hiker continues |

Watch not Vanek’s; search for missing hiker continues

The search for a 35-year-old Front Range woman missing on Mount of Holy Cross is continuing today despite tough weather conditions.

Approximately 95 searchers are combing the backcountry for Michelle Vanek, who disappeared near the summit of the 14,005-foot peak during a hike with a friend Saturday.

Hopes rescuers had found a clue to Vanek’s whereabouts were dashed Wednesday when a watch found at the turn-off for Notch Mountain, a nearby 13,000-plus-foot peak, was determined not to belong to Vanek. The news was disappointing for searchers, said Kim Andree, spokeswoman for the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

“That was such a crash right there,” said Kim Andree.

Conditions for searching have been difficult due to storms moving through the area. Rain and snow has fallen in the surrounding Holy Cross Wilderness.

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The headquarters for the search is the Freedom Park soccer fields in Edwards. Searchers are being shuttled in and out of the Holy Cross Wilderness by helicopter.

Vanek, whom family members said has competed in triathlons, was hiking with a friend when she stopped to rest near the summit of Mount of the Holy Cross. The friend continued to the peak, leaving Vanek behind. When he returned, he could not find her and called for help, authorities said.

Andree said Vanek was dressed in stretch pants, windbreaker and ball cap. Her water supply was minimal, but natural sources of water exist on the mountain, Andree said.

Temperatures in the valley have dropped into the 30s at night and temperatures at higher elevations in the Holy Cross Wilderness are typically colder.

Summit Daily News, Summit County, Colorado

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