Printed on: July 19, 2013

Hiker's body found

The 23-year-old man had been missing since Tuesday

BY RUTH BROWN
rbrown@postregister.com

Searchers on Thursday discovered the body of a man who set out Tuesday to hike to a mountain peak in northwest Yellowstone National Park.

Park officials said the last contact with Joseph Austin Parker, 26, was a phone call he made to friends around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Parker told friends he was below the summit of Electric Peak and, because of nearby lightning, was starting to descend the mountain, according to a National Park Service news release.

A friend reported Parker missing around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

An aerial search by both airplane and helicopter, along with a ground search by teams in four-wheel drive vehicles, on horseback and on foot, did not turn up any clues to Parker's whereabouts Wednesday. Parker's body was discovered below the summit of Electric Peak shortly after the search resumed Thursday.

The cause of death is under investigation.

Originally from Valdosta, Ga., Parker worked at a Gardiner, Mont., business.

Electric Peak is a nearly 11,000-foot mountain in the Gallatin Range, located west of Gardiner.

Ruth Brown can be reached at 542-6750.