I think the other thing to consider with SAR, is that they have to be choosy with their limited funds. Once something obviously changes from a rescue to a recovery, it makes sense they would keep their resources for situations where a life might actually be saved. Though it would have been nice if they had searched longer, I'd rather see them using their limited resources for times that really count. Another week of them searching was not going to bring Joe back and, in all honesty, someone's life is worth much more than someone else's peace of mind
. When the weather gets better up there, he will most likely be found by members of the hiking community and if not-- he will remain at rest in the wilderness he loved. I think both endings have their own unique comfort to offer.