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News Release
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Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue assist injured climber on South Sister (Photo) - 06/19/22

Released by: Deputy Donny Patterson - Assistant Search and Rescue Coordinator

Date/time: 6/18/22 at 6:54 PM

Location: South Sister

Rescued Subject:  23 year-old male from Ithaca, New York

On 06-18-22 at about 6:54 PM, Deschutes County 911 received a call from a hiker that had taken a fall and injured himself on the north side of the South Sister.  The climber had reportedly triggered a small avalanche, which caused him to tumble down the mountain.   The hiker received an injury, which made him unable to continue down on his own.  The hiker was requesting the assistance of a helicopter to get off the mountain. Poor weather conditions would not allow for a helicopter rescue that evening.  The hiker had access to a tent and a sleeping bag to secure himself in until a rescue team could reach him. 

Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue was activated and plans were made to send a team to the hiker's location at about 9100 feet elevation on the mountain. The time it would take to travel to the location and the need to negotiate avalanche terrain made a daylight rescue the only viable option. The Oregon Office of Emergency Management SAR Coordinator was contacted to request assistance from a Oregon Army National Guard helicopter in the morning, hoping weather conditions would allow a hoist rescue. The Oregon Army National Guard agreed to assist in the rescue the next morning.

The Deschutes County Search and Rescue Mountain Rescue Unit departed the Pole Creek Trailhead at about 1:00 AM to travel the nearly 9 miles to the subject, who was located at approximately 9100 feet elevation.  A contingency SAR team followed up the trail at about 6:00 AM, in case the weather declined and a helicopter rescue was not possible.  The first team reached the hiker at 8:50 AM, and began evaluating the hiker’s condition and preparing him to move down a glacier into an area where a helicopter hoist would be safer away from a vertical cliff. The Army National Guard launched their helicopter from Salem and arrived on scene at about 10:39 AM.  At about 11:33 AM, the patient was hoisted into the Blackhawk helicopter and transported to the St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. 

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue would like to thank Oregon Office of Emergency Management and the Oregon Army National Guard for their assistance in this rescue. 

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is a full service agency that oversees the adult jail, provides patrol, criminal investigations, civil process and search and rescue operations. Special units include SWAT, Marine Patrol, ATV Patrol, Forest Patrol, along with five K9 teams. Founded in 1916 and today led by your duly elected Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office serves over 200,000 residents in Deschutes County. The agency has 259 authorized and funded personnel, which includes 191 sworn employees who provide services to the 3,055 square miles of Deschutes County.

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