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Climber rescued from N. Sister after 200-foot fall


A 46-year-old climber from Portland was rescued by an Oregon Army National Guard helicopter late Tuesday night after a nearly 200-foot fall on the North Sister.

Officials with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said they got the call just after 6:30 Tuesday night that Linh Pham , 46, had suffered non-life threatening injuries after a fall near the Thayer Glacer at the 7,500-foot level on the east side of the mountain.

Deputies say Anita Dunsmoor of Portland received a call from her husband, John, 54, saying that his climbing partner had fallen.

“It took about 40 minutes of one word, two word, getting through to find out basically where they were located and if he was okay and Linh was okay,” Anita Dunsmoor said Wednesday. “I was just able to get out, ‘Are you okay ?’ and he was able to say, ‘Yes, I’m okay.’ So I knew I didn’t need to really worry about him.”

She told deputies the pair was able to make it back to their camp, which took most of the day.

“A total of eight volunteer Search and Rescue members, along with one U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer assisted in the rescue,” said Deputy Jim Whitcomb.

One SAR team of three members was deployed to the area to begin a search for the climber’s location, beginning at the Pole Creek Trailhead, west of Sisters.

An Oregon Army National Guard HH-60M Blackhawk helicopter and medevac crew from Charlie Company. 7-158 Aviation was dispatched to the area from the Army Aviation Support Facility #1 in Salem, to the area at about 10 p.m. Tuesday.

“The ground transport would have been a very tiresome difficult trip based on where they were located at and the amount of mileage we had to do,” said Deputy Scott Shelton. “They were able to, at about 11:30 p.m , make contact. They lowered their pararescue, made contact with the patient, packaged him up and were able to remove him in a much safer manner, for us and for the ground team.”

The injured climber was taken to St Charles Medical Center in Bend, where he was treated treatment for a dislocated shoulder and other minor injuries.

Pham’s climbing partner, John Dunsmoor, stayed the night with the pairs equipment and packed it out early Wednesday.

Pham was released from St. Charles and took a bus back to Portland, where he is resting at home.

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