Lost Snowboarder Located
Location: Mt Bachelor
By: Assist SAR Coordinator Deputy Whitcomb
Lost Snowboarder: Wong, Andrew, 35 year old male, San Jose, CA
McCabe, Cody, 25 Year old male, San Jose, CA
Gordon, Stephen, 25 Year old male, San Jose, CA
On 04/26/15, at approximately 1544 hours, Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort contacted the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office regarding a lost snowboarder. It was reported Andrew Wong had been snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort with two friends and was last seen at about 1220 hours before the group’s last run for the day. Wong’s friends lost sight of him at this point and began to look for him themselves, unsuccessfully. Wong texted his friends a short time later saying he was alright and had found a different area on the mountain that had fresh snow. Mt Bachelor Ski Patrol conducted an area search on Mt. Bachelor, but was unable to locate Wong.
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Deputies and Volunteers (approximately 20) responded to Mt. Bachelor and were assisted by the United States Forest Service. Weather conditions on the mountain consisted of fog, rain and sleet at times, making it unsafe to use aircraft. Wong’s friends described him as a very competent snowboarder, very fit with some mountaineering experience. Wong and his friends had traveled to the area from San Jose, CA, and had spent the previous couple of days snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor. Their plan was to return to San Jose on this date.
With the assistance of Mt. Bachelor Ski Patrol personnel, a search plan was put in place utilizing ski teams, snow shoe teams and ATV teams. At approximately 8:15pm, Wong telephoned saying he had been out of cell service, but was alright and was hiking on a trail westbound towards Lava Lake. Search teams were then sent to Lava Lake and began hiking on the trail towards Wong. At approximately 9:57pm, DCSOSAR volunteers located Wong approximately ½ mile north of Lava Lake and in good condition. DCSOSAR transported Wong back to Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, where he was reunited with his friends.
It was learned that Wong did see the boundary signs at the top of Bachelor and decided to skirt them and travel to his right thinking he was on the front side of the mountain, but Wong did not realize he was on the south side of the mountain. Wong soon realized he was not where he thought he was and ended up letting gravity work in his favor and decided to travel downhill and towards a lake he could see in the distance. Wong ended up hiking about 7 miles after leaving the mountain until he was located. Wong did attempt to call 911 numerous times but was not able to.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind those who are drawn to seek untracked snow on Mt. Bachelor, to be cognizant of the visible boundary along its perimeter. These boundaries will assist recreationists by guiding them back to ski lifts and the resort.