A blogger who wrote about her extensive travels through Europe has vanished on one of the adventures her thousands of followers checked in to read about. Esther Dingley, 37—who ran the Esther & Dan blog with her partner of 18 years, Dan Colegate, 38—had set out from Benasque, Spain, for a solo hike in the Pyrenees mountains on the weekend of Nov. 21, per the New York Times. Colegate, who'd stayed at a farm in France, received word that Dingley reached Pic de Sauvegarde, a mountain peak straddling the France-Spain border, on Nov. 22. It was the same day the BBC published a profile of the couple, who quit their jobs to travel full-time six years ago after Colegate suffered a life-threatening infection. Dingley planned to spend that night at a cabin on the French side, per the BBC. But she didn't arrive and failed to return on Nov. 25 as planned.
Officials in France and Spain say they've found no sign of Dingley despite multiple searches involving helicopters. "Her itinerary meant she should have done the loop and crossed into France before returning, but … we have no indication of whether she crossed the border or not," Pierre Gaillard, deputy commander of the French mountain platoon leading the search, tells the Guardian. With snow forecast for Tuesday, he adds the chances of finding Dingley are now "extremely slim." Colegate has traveled Dingley's route on his own, but again without sign of her. "I'm broken," he said in a Saturday statement. He asked for "prayers, thoughts, candles and whatever you have" as "this wonderful person believes in the power of positive thought." "Right now I'll take anything if it means that she can be found," he added. "I need her back. I can't face the alternative." (Read more missing person stories.)