Date:11/21/2016 at 3:05 P.M.
Location: Cocaine Gully
Climber: Meghan Austin, 31-year-old female, Portland, OR

On November 21, 2016, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue was dispatched to a report of a fallen climber at Smith Rock. The initial report at the scene was that a 31-year-old female had fallen about 50 vertical feet while climbing half way up in the Cocaine Gully.

A DCSO Reserve Deputy/MRU Rescue Leader responded to the scene arriving at the climber’s location at about 3:50 P.M. Austin had actually fallen to the ground a distance of about 25 feet and it was determined the rescue would require a technical rope system to safely lower the climber down to the trail. It was learned Austin was climbing with three friends and had rappelled past the end of her rope.

Sixteen DCSOSAR volunteers and two DCSOSAR Deputies responded to the scene, who were assisted by a Smith Rock Park Ranger and Redmond Fire medics. The rescue continued after sunset requiring halogen lights to light up the gully to aid in the rescue operation.

Austin was packaged in a litter and lowered down the steep terrain by ropes to the main hiking trail at about 6:35 P.M. Austin was then transported by wheeled litter to the foot bridge below the main parking lot. The rescue was completed at about 9:30 P.M. Austin was transported by Redmond Fire to St Charles Medical Center in Bend for serious non-life threatening injuries.

Deputy Jim Whitcomb
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office
Assistant Search and Rescue Coordinator