Two Backcountry Skiers Rescued After Equipment Malfunction

On 12/02/22, at about 5:27 PM, the Deschutes County 911 Dispatch Center received a 911 call from a backcountry skier near Todd Lake. The caller reported that his ski companion was having a ski malfunction that they could not repair in the field, and they were unable to make it back out of the location unassisted.

The depth of the fresh snow, the ski malfunction, and their location prevented the two skiers from self-rescuing or hiking back out of the location unassisted. The caller reported that he had to leave his ski companion to ascend the mountain to obtain cellular service for this call.

A Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Special Services Deputy assigned to Search and Rescue contacted the reporting person by phone. With the assistance of a Garmin In-Reach that the skiers had with them, the caller was able to return to his ski companion’s location and provide a more accurate GPS coordinates of their location. The skiers were reported to have food, water, appropriate winter clothing, and gear to remain in place. The subjects were advised to remain at the location together and stay warm until assistance arrived.

At approximately 5:54 PM, a page was sent out to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers for this mission. A total of 6-SAR volunteers who are qualified for this type of winter rescue responded to this page (SAR First Winter Rescue Mission for the season).

At approximately 7:10 PM two SAR teams left the SAR team office with Snowmobiles, backcountry skis, and snowshoes headed to the Dutchman Snow Park. The two teams then continued on snowmobiles to Todd Lake where they parked the snowmobiles and continued trekking into the location on Skis and Snowshoes.

At approximately 10:03 PM, the SAR volunteers made contact with the stranded skiers. The two skiers were in good health, and they were assisted back down the mountain and to the awaiting snowmobiles. The skiers were then transported by snowmobiles out of the location and back to Mt. Bachelor to their vehicle.

Source: DCSO

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