Released by: Deputy Donny Patterson, Assistant Search and Rescue Coordinator
Released Date: 09/30/2022
Location: South Sister
Person Assisted: 61-year-old female, Springfield, Oregon
On September 30, 2022, at 4:18 PM, the Deschutes County 911 Dispatch Center received a 911 call from a lost hiker who was descending the South Sister. The caller, a 61-year-old female from Springfield, Oregon was hiking alone at the time with her dog when she inadvertently left the climbers trail and soon became disoriented. The 911 call was broken mid conversation due to a lack of cell coverage in that area, thus further details were not obtained.
A Special Services Deputy assigned to Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue attempted to contact the lost hiker several times by phone and text having negative contact results. A cell phone ping was also attempted to confirm the hiker’s location, though this was met with negative results.
Contact was not obtained for over an hour when a second 911 call came in from the South Sister area. This call was received by Klamath County 911 Dispatch Center. This call was also limited in duration due to poor cell service; however, the caller’s information was the same. The caller was able to relay that she had some food, water, an extra cell phone battery, and warm clothes. She reported that she had lost contact with another person in her hiking party and she could not reacquire the South Sister’s climbers trail.
At approximately 4:49 PM, after numerous attempts to contact the lost female by phone, and knowing that there was the possibly an additional lost hiker in the area from her party a request was sent out for the assistance of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Incident Management Team. AirLink was also contacted and they volunteered to assist the Sheriff’s Office with an aerial search as daylight was rapidly diminishing.
Due to the inability to make further contact with the lost female a SAR page was sent out and total of 12-SAR volunteers, a Sgt. and two Special Services Deputies responded to this call. AirLink was able to locate the lost female in the area of the Le Conte Crater Trail (southwest of South Sister) and provide SAR volunteers with her GPS coordinates.
At approximately 6:30 PM two SAR teams departed the SAR team office towards Devils Lake to access the South Sisters Climbers Trail. At approximately 7:15 PM SAR volunteers began to hike into the area to locate the lost hiker. At approximately 8:12 PM SAR volunteers made contact with the lost hiker and walked her back out of the area where she was reunited with her hiking partner at the Devils Lake trailhead.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank AirLink for their assistance on this call.
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.