FAIRBANKS—The search continues for Dalton Hanson, the 23-year-old Fairbanks man who walked away from a hunting camp near Livengood last week.
Hanson did not have proper survival gear and was not dressed for the weather, which has been cold and wet since he went missing.
Hanson and his stepfather went to their cabin Sept. 10 to go hunting but argued shortly after they arrived, according to Hanson's mother, Randi Van Blarcom. Hanson took a walk "to cool off" and never came back. He was reported missing at 10:40 p.m. that day.
Hanson said her husband is not a suspect or person of interest in Hanson's disappearance.
"Troopers have done their investigation from a criminal standpoint and have released my husband of any wrongdoing," Van Blarcom said. "This is a simple walk-off, 'I'm lost' situation."
The inclement weather has hampered search efforts. Searchers are using Argo amphibious vehicles because trails are impassable by four-wheelers, according to Van Blarcom, and helicopters carrying fresh volunteers and dogs were unable to land on Thursday.
Van Blarcom said there is no longer a base camp set up at 8 1/2 mile Dalton Highway but that at least eight volunteers and two search dogs are camped at the family's cabin about 10 miles up the trailhead.
Interested search volunteers are asked to report to the Fairbanks trooper office on Peger Road so troopers can ascertain whether they have the necessary survival skills to participate.
"If they just go cowboy up and go out there, it's only going to hamper the search," Van Blarcom said.
Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said the combination of bad weather, the amount of time Hanson has been missing, and his lack of survival gear does not bode well.
"It's safe to look at the situation and realistically expect that it would be a recovery versus a rescue, but that doesn't mean the search efforts have stopped," Peters said.
Van Blarcom said she still hopes her son will return safely once the weather clears.
"My hope is that he hooked up with another hunter and is in a camp somewhere that we haven't found yet," Van Blarcom said. "Hunting season in that area doesn't end until the 20th, so I'm holding on for a phone call on the 21st or the 22nd that says, "Hey mom, I'm at Hilltop, I got in with these hunters."
The family has set up a Dalton Hanson Rescue Fund account at MAC Federal Credit Union for donations to help buy fuel, water, food and other supplies for the searchers.
Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.