Mariposa & Yosemite

Search for missing Yosemite hiker continues

George Penca, 30, was last seen at the top of Upper Yosemite Fall.
George Penca, 30, was last seen at the top of Upper Yosemite Fall.

The search for a missing hiker at Yosemite National Park is being scaled back. George Penca, 30, of Hawthorne, was last seen Friday at the top of Yosemite Falls. The area has been thoroughly search by rescue team members and search dogs, but no clues have emerged in the rugged and steep terrain, park officials said.

Hawthorne began hiking the Upper Yosemite Fall Trail Friday with 20 people from his church. The group dispersed at teh top of the waterfall and later regrouped to hike back down to the valley floor. When Penca didn't return, the group filed a missing person report.

A full-scale search was initiated Saturday with 105 search-and-rescue workers, two helicopters and dog teams. The search area included 70 square miles of rugged terrain ranging in elevation from 4,000 to 8,000 feet.

Yosemite National Park is asking anyone in the area of the Upper Yosemite Fall Trail who may have information on Penca to call the Yosemite Emergency Communication Center at (209) 379-1992. Penca is 5-foot-10, weighs 240 pounds, and has dark brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing gray sweatpants with white stripes, a black T-shirt that says "D&B" across the chest, or a black tank top, and gray/blue running shoes.

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