Into Thin Air

On the Scene of a Fruitless Search For a Friend

Any struggle on the mountain, say the rangers, would have produced scents for the dogs to pick up. In the end, they say, the sheer danger of the mountain suggests the most plausible outcomes— two other men have been lost on Mount Rainier in the past two months alone. Park spokesperson Maria Gillett says that rangers will send a helicopter and dog teams back up the mountain when the snow melts, and Elizabeth Wood says, "We're going to wait to see."

Joe Wood: missing since July 8
photo: Somini Sengupta
Joe Wood: missing since July 8

For many, Wood's vanishing prevents solace. His literary agent, Faith Childs, with help from several of Wood's friends, hired a former NYPD detective to retrace Wood's steps. "We wanted someone who knows the wicked ways of the world," says Childs, because, she adds, "I can't say uncle yet. I just can't."

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