Released by: Deputy Kyle Joye – Assistant Search and Rescue Coordinator
Date/time: 03-04-22 at 4:29 PM
Location: Red Wall at Smith Rock State Park
Rescued Subjects: 20 year old male, Bend and 19 year old male, Bend
On 03-04-22 at about 4:29 PM, Deschutes County 911 received a call from a climber on “Red Wall” of Smith Rock. The climber reported he was with a partner rappelling over Red Wall when their ropes became tangled at the top after attaching to an improper anchor point. The caller reported they were 70′ from the edge of the wall and approximately 200′ from the ground. The caller advised 911 they were unable to continue any further down the wall without assistance.
At 4:40 pm the Mountain Rescue Unit (MRU) of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue was activated and 7 volunteers responded with one Special Services Deputy. The Deputy made phone contact with the climbers learning their exact position and finding they were uninjured, just needing help with tangled equipment to rappel down safely.
At approximately 5:10 pm the Deputy along with one MRU volunteer arrived and were able to spot the subjects on the wall. The volunteer agreed to hike to the top of Red Wall via Misery Ridge Trail in an attempt to free the tangled equipment while the remaining members prepared for a technical rescue.
At approximately 5:45 pm the volunteer reached the top of Red Wall and was able to free the climbers allowing them to continue their descent. After descending approximately half way down the wall, the climbers stopped due to safety concerns, lack of proper equipment and being unfamiliar with the route. At this time it was decided additional technical assistance was going to be required to bring the climbers the rest of the way.
Search and Rescue MRU members then set up a rappel system on the wall to safely descend to the climbers location where they were provided with additional equipment and clothing so they could safely descend the remaining distance. The climbers reached the trail at approximately 1955 hours and were able to hike out of the park without further assistance.
SAR volunteers were able to clear the wall at approximately 9:00 pm after descending and retrieving rescue equipment.
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.