Searchers are looking for a 73-year-old Edina man who didn’t return Sunday afternoon from a solo day hike to Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park.
About 30 people and a dog team scoured the area Sunday evening and Monday in search of Kenneth Stensby, an experienced hiker, and found only his dark colored day pack near the railing at the top of Vernal Fall. Officials likely will add a helicopter and additional dog teams, said Park Ranger Scott Gediman.
Stensby, who arrived in the area last week to hike and take photographs, left a note each day with the hotel staff, noting where he was going and when he expected to return. On Sunday, he let the staff know he was leaving at 7 a.m. for a 3-mile round-trip hike up to Vernal Fall and he expected to return by noon.
When he hadn’t returned by 5 p.m., the hotel staff notified park rangers and the search began, Gediman said.
The strenuous hike to the Vernal Fall, one of the most popular in the park, is named “Mist Trail” because visitors get soaked with water while climbing the granite stairs to the top of the waterfall.
In July 2011, three visitors died when they fell over the falls. A sign warns visitors that it’s a dangerous area but witnesses say the group had crossed a metal guardrail placed there to keep visitors back from the fast-moving water.
“If you go over the waterfall, it’s not something you can survive,” Gediman said. And at this time of year with the snow melt, the falls are at their peak, he said.
It could be that Stensby wandered off the trail and got lost in the area, Gediman said. But so far, no one reported seeing him, he said.