Released by: Deputy Jeff Winters
Assistant SAR Coordinator

Occurred: 06/16/2016 at 9:31 p.m.
Location: Hidden Forest Cave
Fallen Hiker: Erik Siefken, 21 years old, from Bend Oregon


On 06/16/2016 just after 9:30 p.m., Deschutes County 911 received a call reporting an adult male (Erik Siefken) had fallen while hiking in the bottom of Hidden Forest Cave. It was reported that Seifken had sustained non-life threatening injuries, but needed assistance getting out of the area.

Hidden Forest Cave is located in the same area as Arnold Ice cave on China Hat Road near Mile post 13. Hidden Forest Cave is a large, deep depression in the ground and is not a traditional cave in the sense that it lacks an underground tunnel that is accessible to the public.

Much of Hidden Forest Cave has vertical and/or near vertical rock walls that rise up approximately 25′ from the cave floor. The south end of the cave has a steep hiking trail that leads to the bottom. Most of the bottom of the cave is covered with large, loose, lava rock boulders.

It was reported that Seifken had been hiking in the bottom of the cave with his wife and attempted to climb up one of the near vertical walls. Seifken lost his grip/footing and fell about 10-12 feet to the cave floor where he remained, waiting for rescue.

Shortly after 10:00 p.m., DCSOSAR was activated. At about 11:00 p.m., an advance team of 1 Deputy, 1 SAR Rescue Leader and 1 USFS Law Enforcement Officer located Seifken and made an initial assessment of his injuries and overall condition. It was confirmed that Seifken’s injuries were non-life threatening, but he would need to be manually transported out to the parking area.

At about 11:30 p.m., the remaining team of 17 volunteer rescuers reached Siefken and began preparing him for transport. After being loaded into a wheeled liter, the volunteers moved Seifken over the boulder field and out of the cave, back to the parking area which was about ?1/4 mile away. Due to the rugged terrain, it was necessary to physically carry Seifken much of the way.

Upon reaching the parking area, Seifken was turned over to medics from Bend Fire and Rescue for transport to St. Charles in Bend, where he was treated for his injuries.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to urge the public to exercise due caution when recreating in wilderness areas.