Search suspended for missing hiker, Gene George, in Mount Harvard area near Buena Vista

CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. - The active field search for a missing hiker has been suspended.

Search and rescue teams with horses, specially-trained dogs and helicopter spent four days in the Buena Vista area looking for Gene George, of Ohio. However, officials with the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office said searchers found no sign of George.

George, 64, called his girlfriend from his motel in Buena Vista on September 18 and said he planned to hike Mount Harvard, deputies said.

Authorities said they believe George summited Mount Columbia September 19 and went back to his motel room. Other hikers reported seeing a man fitting George's description on the summit of Mount Harvard on September 21.

However, deputies said on September 22, when George didn't check out as scheduled, the motel owner called police.

Authorities found George's car parked at the North Cottonwood Creek trailhead, the trailhead for Harvard and Columbia.

Although the active search is being suspended, posters with George's photograph will be distributed to outdoor sports retailers and posted at the North Cottonwood Creek trailhead. 

George is described as a white man with brown hair and blue eyes. He is approximately 5'6" tall and weighs about 135 pounds. 

He is thought to be wearing a dark blue jacket and dark blue hiking pants, possibly with a gray rain suit.  He may be carrying a faded green backpack, deputies said.

Mount Harvard (14,420 feet) and Mount Columbia (14,073 feet) are 14er's -- peaks over 14,000-feet high.

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