Monday, June 09, 2008

Hiker Lost in Hunchback Mountain Area on Flanks of Mt Hood

On Sunday afternoon, June 8, 2008, a man hiked into the Mt Hood National Forest, leaving from the Zig Zag Ranger Station for a short day hike on the Hunchback Mountain Trail. By around 7 o’clock that evening he was on his cell phone with Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office trying to find a way to explain where he was lost. He knew he had limited use of his cell phone battery, no flashlight, and that he was standing in the snow in a pair of shorts and a tee shirt. It was clear that Chad Tabler needed help.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue (SAR) coordinators and 20 volunteers quickly set up a post at the Zig Zag Ranger Station and continued their search throughout the night. They knew by the fact that Tabler was standing in snow that he was at or near the 3500 ft level. They had possible coordinates of his location through the cell phone he used, but were also aware that those are not always accurate, and that he was not exactly dressed appropriately or well equipped to set up camp for the night, and the temperature was in the 30’s.

Along with the Clackamas County SAR coordinators, the search team included the U.S. Coast Guard, American Medical Response, North Star Canine, Mountain Wave Communications, Pacific Northwest Search & Rescue, and the Four-by-Four Club (Jeep Vehicles). They were well equipped for the search, with heat sensing helicopters, air patrol, and a ground search team.

By 5 a.m. word came from the SAR command post that they had located Tabler, and that he was being medically evaluated, and may need to be airlifted to safety. The hike out of the mountainous area was around three hours.

Around 7 a.m., Chad Tabler, along with Pacific Northwest Mountain Rescue’s Tom Batty, Tony Hobkirk, Scott Schwab and Brian Hankins, were airlifted to safety and brought to the Welches Grade School parking lot. Search and Rescue Coordinator Sgt Napoli said, "This operation could have very easily gone bad and had a different outcome. The weather was turning nasty just as we were loading the subjects into the USCG helicopter. ALL of the resources are to be commended for their teamwork and professionalism! Great job!"
Photo courtesy of Sgt Napoli of Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

1 comment:

  1. Leon Pantenburg7/27/2008 9:42 AM

    Always use Common Sense when hiking in the wilderness


Blogging the local Mt Hood area of Oregon. With skiing, snowboarding, hiking, shopping, wind surfing, live bands, resorts, movies, and much more to do, you'll never be bored in the Mount Hood area.