Nevada A team of elite athletes and expert mountaineers has ended a weeklong hunt for Steve Fossett, finding no sign of the missing adventurer or his plane but eliminating miles of rugged terrain from areas that still must be searched.
The 10 searchers, headed by Canadian geologist and adventure racer Simon Donato, 31, packed up their gear on Saturday after taking a day to explore a steep canyon in Nevada's Wassuk Range, dominated by 11,239-foot-high Mount Grant. That followed six days of hiking in the Sweetwater Mountains and Bodie Hills to the west, on the state's border with California.
"We didn't find what we were looking for, but we covered a lot of land that can basically be crossed off the (search) map now," team member Greg Francek said in a telephone interview. "We were looking for wreckage probably the size of one or two shopping carts - and it's hard describe the huge scale of the wild, tough country we were in. It's really something."
Fossett gained worldwide fame for his scores of attempts and successes in setting records in high-tech balloons, gliders, jets and boats. In 2002, he became the first person to circle the world solo in a balloon. He was declared legally dead in February.