Search Still On For Missing Nome Hiker

Joseph Balderas  has been missing since June 26. Photo courtesy of Finding Joseph.

A man has been missing around Nome since June 26. Please keep him and his loved ones in your thoughts.

Here’s some more info on Joseph Balderas.

Nome, Alaska — Joseph Balderas, 36, was reported missing in Nome, Alaska on Monday, June 26 after he failed to show up for work.  Mr. Balderas is presumed to have gotten lost while hiking or running.  His vehicle was later found near mile 44 of the Nome-Council Highway.

Officials are staying optimistic as local conditions are favorable.  Despite Nome’s close proximity to the North Pole the temperature during the summer hovers around 50 degrees and the sun does not set until about 2 AMand rises again only a few hours later.  According to Mr. Balderas’ brother, Chris Balderas, Joseph is also an experienced outdoorsman.

“I have been to Alaska twice to go see Joseph and we’ve gone on extensive trips together, so I know what he is capable of, I know what his skills are and for me personally I’m very optimistic that’ he’s still alive and he can be found,” Chris Balderas told KAMC reporters in Lubbock.

Rescue workers, however, do face several challenges. The area in which Mr. Balderas was hiking largely lacks notable landmarks making some areas nearly indistinguishable from others. The land is also well-covered by trees making it easy to get lost and difficult for air support to see the ground.

Nome residents have also stepped in to aide rescue workers. Many local businesses and organizations were closed for much of the week so that volunteers could search along with US Coast Guard, Alaska State Troopers, National Park Service, and other units.  An estimated 100 local residents have taken time off from their jobs and daily lives to help find Mr. Balderas.

Mr. Balderas is native of Lubbock, Texas and a graduate of Roosevelt High School and Texas Tech University. He is the first in his family to graduate from college, although he did not stop there. In 2009 he graduated from law school at the University of Minnesota after which he moved to Alaska where he has since been a judicial clerk throughout the Alaskan court system. In the few years he has spent in Nome Alaska, he has become a beloved member of the community.

Friends and family remain hopeful that Joseph will be found alive and well, however with each passing day the limit to local and state resources draws near.  A fundraising page has been set up to support the search efforts and travel expenses to bring Mr. Balderas’ parents from Lubbock, Texas to Nome.  Donations to help keep the search going can be made at