Daniel Komins summited Trinity Alp’s Thompson Peak Sunday, August 11th. He sent a celebration picture to his girlfriend Carli Hollis with two unidentified hikers by his side. This photograph would be the last direct form of communication Carli would receive from Daniel. Due to a popular post on Reddit’s Wilderness Backpacking forum, one of those hikers has been positively identified as Arjun Mukerji who offered insight into Daniel’s possible whereabouts.
In Redheaded Blackbelt’s reporting on the missing hiker, it was noted the summit celebration photograph “shows two of the three other hikers that he met on the trail. The hikers are unidentified”. Knowing these hikers could offer information on Daniel’s intended route, Carli “checked Facebook and Instagram for a bunch for similar pictures but didn’t find anything”.
On Thursday, August 15th, the identity of the orange jacketed hiker was pinpointed when a Reddit user named “naura” uploaded a stunning photograph of Thompson Peak with four hikers admiring the view. Daniel is clearly in the right of the photograph demonstrated by the khaki sun hat and black, puffy down coat.After direct messaging the Reddit account and confirming these observations, Arjun Mukejri introduced himself as the hiker clad in orange. He was “on a 2-night backpacking trip up Canyon Creek Trail with the objective of reaching Thompson Peak”.
Arjun recounted his group’s encounter with Daniel: “He was totally relaxed and chill. We encountered him along Upper Canyon Creek above the lakes around 6,500’ elevation. He said he had been up Thompson like six times and knew the route; he guided us up it. He was in the element and having fun, happy to be up there in the alps.” The group also encountered Daniel the following morning when he hiked through their camp. “We were packing up to hike out and he was heading to L Lake.”
Arjun became aware of his photograph’s importance “via the Facebook page Trinity Alps Wilderness- 30th Anniversary Celebration… which posted a link to to an article describing the missing hiker. He recognized the hiker that had guided him up Thompson Peak which compelled him to contact Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. “The dispatcher noted it all down, then shortly afterward I got a call from a sheriff who asked some more questions. They said they had helicopters on the case and a team going in tonight and one tomorrow morning. So, I get the impression they are mobilizing the SAR now.”
When it was established Arjun was with Daniel on the summit, Carli was informed of the unexpected Reddit discovery and reached out to Arjun. After hearing of Arjun’s experience with Daniel, Carli revealed “it was a relief to know that someone saw him in good spirits on Monday morning. This has been like putting puzzle pieces together.”
When reflecting on the conversation with Carli, Arjun said “it was quite surreal. I’ve never had such close interaction with someone who went missing or their loved ones. The casualness of the interaction with Dan in the alps contrasts very strongly with how worried everyone is now.”
Arjun was able to provide a thorough description of Daniel’s intended route from Monday to Wednesday. “He said he was heading over to the Stuart Fork Drainage, I believe to Sapphire Lake. He intended to go there by scrambling up to L Lake and then over to the north ridge of Sawtooth Mountain… once in the Stuart Fork Drainage, he planned to exit via Bear Creek Trail to his car at the Canyon Creek Trailhead.” This itinerary could prove invaluable to Search and Rescue operations.
After hearing Daniel’s itinerary from Arjun, Carli said, “Now we know more specifically where he is going. He told one of the hikers that he was going up to Sawtooth Peak. And I didn’t think he would go up there so that’s some new info about where we can look.”
Since Daniel’s failure to return on Wednesday, Carli combed social media for any sign of Daniel at the Trinity Alps that weekend. She expressed how “it felt good to see a picture from the other group. It gave me hope that they had an idea of where he was headed.”
Daniel Komins is a 34 year old EMT and a passionate outdoorsman. He is 5’9” and 150 pounds. He wears glasses and carries a blue backpack.
If you or someone you know has any information, contact Trinity County Sheriffs Department at (530) 623-2611.