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Eugene hiker injured in North Sister fall, rescued


(Update: DCSO SAR releases name, details of rescue)

A 21-year-old Eugene man who planned to hike up, then ski down North Sister on Monday was approaching the 10,085-foot summit with a partner when he fell and slid down the slope and was injured, prompting an air and ground rescue effort, officials said.

Deschutes County 911 dispatchers got a call around 10:20 a.m. from Robert Kalmbach, who reported he’d injured himself and needed assistance, said Lt. Bryan Husband, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue coordinator.

Kalmbach and a friend, Michael Martin, also 21 and from Eugene, had set out earlier in the morning from the Pole Creek Trailhead with a plan to summit North Sister, then ski back to the trailhead, Husband said.

Kalmbach said the pair made it to within 200 feet of the summit when he fell and slid partway down the east slope. He was injured and was unable to continue on his own, the lieutenant said.

The call enabled dispatchers to provide sheriff’s deputies with coordinates of the pair’s location, about 5 1/ 2 miles from the trailhead.

An AirLink helicopter crew responded and flew volunteers to a spot about 800 feet below the two men’s location, Husband said. Five other volunteers responded to the trailhead.

While the first two SAR volunteers climbed to Kalmbach, AirLink flew to the trailhead and picked up two other volunteers to fly in. The four mountain rescue and medical team members reached Kalmbach around 1:45 p.m.

The man was stabilized as much as possible, put in a rescue sled and lowered to the waiting helicopter, which then took Kalmbach to St. Charles Bend with non-life-threatening injuries, Husband said. Volunteers then helped Martin back to the trailhead.

Husband said the sheriff’s office wants to thank AirLink for its help. “Without their assistance, the response time to Kalmbach’s location would have been considerably longer, potentially leading to further medical problems,” he added.

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