Yesterday I was made aware that a fellow thru-hiker and dear friend from the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013 is currently missing.
Steven Olshansky, better known as ‘The Otter’, was last seen on November 14, 2015, being dropped off by friends at Cumbres Pass in Colorado (near the border of New Mexico) on the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). He was heading south on the CDT towards Ghost Ranch, expecting to be out of service for 2-2.5 weeks, but never arrived to pick up his resupply and has not been in contact with family or friends since.
It is difficult for search and rescue to access all parts of the trail during winter, though some areas have been searched on foot and by snowmobile. Family and friends have also been following a number of unconfirmed leads of possible sightings in CDT trail towns including Cuba, Grants and Lordsburg, New Mexico, and off trail near Springerville, Arizona. But there have been no possible sightings since January 5, 2016.
Otter has hiked all three of the long distance trails that constitute the ‘Triple Crown’ of hiking in the United States: the PCT, CDT and AT (Appalachian Trail) multiple times and is a very experienced hiker. It is out of character for him to be out of contact for so long with his family and friends while on trail.
Otter is 59-years-old, 6-feet tall and 175 pounds, has grey hair and a beard, and was last seen wearing beige pants, a green baseball cap, and a blue jacket. He also has a black-and-red quarter-zip pullover and usually camps in a six-foot red-and-grey teepee-styled tent.
Otter’s friend Peter has set up a website: thesearchforotter.wordpress.com and a Facebook page where you can find the latest updates from his search and provide any information you may have about his whereabouts. For anyone who is willing and able to assist in the search for Otter, please read the guidelines posted by his family on their website. The most important thing is that all searchers stay safe.
Anyone who has seen a hiker matching Otter’s description in the past eight weeks, or has any information on his whereabouts, please call the family 24/7 at 800-444-1011 (ask for Peter). You can also use the contact form on his website or comment on his Facebook page.
Please also spread the word and share this information as far and wide as you possibly can. Thank you on behalf of his father Mark, sister Miranda and brother Neil, and his childhood friend Peter.