Mt. Baldy Photo via californiathroughmylens.com
Mt. Baldy Photo via californiathroughmylens.com

A search intensified Tuesday for a 78-year-old avid hiker from Culver City who went missing on Mt. Baldy, where he’s a well-known presence.

Eighteen search-and-rescue team members took to the mountain this morning in the search for Suek “Sam” Kim, the San Gabriel Tribune reported.

Ten searchers were to be flown the summit to hike the trails down the mountain, while the rest were to hike the upbound trails.

Kim has summited Mt. Baldy nearly 800 times. His relatives told authorities that Kim went hiking Friday and never returned home.

After he was reported missing Sunday morning, San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies found his car at Manker Flats, one of several trailheads to Mt. Baldy.

Kim has a reputation for being irrepressible on the trail, handing out jelly beans and Doritos, demanding other hikers pose for selfies and chatting with everyone he meets, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Speaking to a Times reporter while climbing the mountain in December, Kim said: “I’m feeling God’s embrace. This is better than church.”

Kim and his family moved from South Korea to Southern California in 1981.

—City News Service

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