Avid Thru Hiker Dies on Third Continental Divide Trek

The discovery this week in northern New Mexico of a 59-year-old known for extensive long distance hikes ends a monthslong search after going missing in December.

Stephen Olshansky was found in a campground building in the Carson National Forest in New Mexico near the Colorado border.

The location is apparently remote and rarely visited during the winter. Hikers noticed his body and alerted authorities who still had trouble reaching the site.

Law enforcement said there was no evidence of foul play and that he likely died from exposure, according to the Associated Press.

His brother, who spoke with the AP, said he was an experienced thru-hiker having completed the Triple Crown of Hiking: the Pacific Crest, Appalachian and Continental Divide trails. 

Had he survived his latest outting, Olshansky would have completed the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail for the third time. He was apparently travelling southbound and just finishing the final stretch through New Mexico when he died of exposure.

He had last been seen in mid-November around Colorado, and when he hadn’t picked up his supplies in New Mexico his family alerted authorities and initiated a search in mid-December.

“He was widely devoted to spending time in the woods, and had a million friends in the hiking community,” his brother Neil Olshansky said Monday.

Photo credit: Flickr CC